City Fashions closing down

City Fashions Closing Down

It’s been an iconic Silver City shop for nearly a century, but the time has come – City Fashions is shutting its doors for good on Wednesday afternoon.

For more than a third of its 99-year history, Pat and Ray Oates have owned the popular store, but now it’s been decided it’s time to let it go.

City Fashions first opened its doors on May 1, 1925, and was originally owned by Amy Francis – considered one of the most fashionable women in town at the time – with her daughters then running the business for 55 years.

In 1980, Maureen Spain bought the store before selling it to Ricky and Dianne Wood who owned it until 1991 when Pat and her sister-in-law June Campell bought it. Not long after, the business outgrew its original Argent St address and moved to a vacant space on Oxide St.

Having gone through many transformations since, even at one stage becoming a bridal shop, it’s always stayed true to its offerings of ladies’ casual wear, semi-formal wear, knitwear, men’s wear, repairs and alterations, haberdashery, Janome sewing machines, and more.

Pat and Ray’s daughter, Jan, told the Barrier Truth just how much the business meant to her parents – especially her mother who’s run it mostly on her own for the last 10 years – and what Pat will miss the most as the couple prepare to close up one last time.

“It’s sad to see it go. Mum’s very sad to see it go,” Jan said.

“It’s bittersweet for her and it will take her some time to adjust to not having to go down to the shop, and dad goes down every day with mum till lunchtime – they had their little routine. For an eighty-four and eighty-eight-year-old, that’s pretty damn good.”

Servicing the community for 33 years is certainly not lost on Pat either, with a strong customer base over the years regularly coming into the store, which Jan believes is what her mother will miss the most about not being open going forward.

“She really does love her customers that come in, she calls them her old dears, believe it or not. She finds that just having a chat to them sometimes can lift their spirits and so she’s going to miss that aspect of it,” Jan says.

“Also, all her suppliers. She’s had the same suppliers now for 30 years. She’s made some really nice business connections and stuff over that time. It’s really just mum and dad wanting to thank everyone that’s been involved with their business over the time, and the Broken Hill community.

“Credit to mum, she’s always adapted. I think mum was born out of her era to be honest. I think had she been born now she would have been an absolute rockstar entrepreneur, to be honest. Over the years she’s taken the shop through many stages to change with the times. It was never about the money so much, it was more about the connection with people.

“It’s just one of those sweet little shops. Had mum still been 10 years younger, there’s no way this shop would be sold now. She would just keep going because she enjoys it. What’s the saying? It’s not work when you love what you do. I think that’s what has sort of kept mum going. And of course, dad just does whatever makes mum happy.”

City Fashions’ last day of operation is Wednesday, March 27. Head in-store at 51-53 Oxide St to find yourself a bargain amongst their closing down sale.

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