Ipswich store to close after 120 years in business
IT SURVIVED two world wars, but the modern retail age has proven too tough for a famous Ipswich business.
Rawlings Shoes and Menswear at the top of the mall will soon shut its doors, ending about 120 years of history.
Opening before the turn of the 20th century, it has succumbed to an increasingly difficult retail environment in the modern age.
Owner Andy Rawlings is the third-generation owner of the menswear store.
He said it was a difficult decision, but confirmed the doors would close when the store's final stock sells out.
Mr Rawlings said a "combination of things" had led to its closure.
"Ipswich people have supported us here for a good 110 years," he said.
"It's time for a change for me."
The past 10 years had been tough, with Mr Rawlings holding on while other businesses fell around him.
He remained open purely for the love of the city.
"I'm a strong supporter of Ipswich," he said.
Reluctant to be negative about the closure, Mr Rawlings thanked the community for supporting the business in the good times.
In his parting message to Ipswich, he spruiked the importance of people spending money in their own towns.
"You've got to support local businesses," he urged.
"Every dollar spent at Rawlings would always go around the city three times."
It is believed to be the region's second-oldest family business, born in an era of personalised service and sharp dress.
The Rawlings family started in Ipswich when Henry Rawlings made the voyage from England in 1863.
Andy's grandfather, William, moved to Ipswich from Toowoomba to take over a shoe store from his brother, Fred.
Rawlings Menswear opened in 1898 at 137 Brisbane St.
During the Second World War Colin Rawlings bought the business from his father, William.
In 1970 Andy Rawlings took over the menswear store from his father.
Through good times and challenging ones, the family has provided affordable footwear and men's clothing to Ipswich's people.
Such is the family's link to the city, a street at Deebing Heights has been named after it.
When the final stock does sell out, Mr Rawlings will spend more time on his farm.
"It's been quite a journey," he said.