Popular fabric shop forced to shut

END OF AN ERA: Longstanding Nelson Mandela Bay fabrics company Mums is thought to have become the latest casualty of the struggling textile industry and will soon go under the hammer. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI
END OF AN ERA: Longstanding Nelson Mandela Bay fabrics company Mums is thought to have become the latest casualty of the struggling textile industry and will soon go under the hammer. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI

Mums’ sale of R5m worth of stock nears end

POPULAR Nelson Mandela Bay fabrics company Mums has gone under and will soon go under the hammer, spelling the end of an era for many in the city. Newton Park-based Mums is just days away from the end of its liquidation sale of R5-million worth of stock – which is being sold at half the price – to pay off creditors.

The longstanding company, which has been a feature in the city for 25 years, is believed to have become the latest casualty of the struggling textile industry that has been knocked by clothing imports.

Aucor Auctioneers auction manager Vincent Moss confirmed the closure of the business and said that imports had played a big role in Mums going under, resulting in a loss of clientele and the company being unable to cover its overheads.

“Look, what is happening to Mums is a sign of the tough economic times,” he said.

“But it is still a very sad story because it has been a big company in PE and meant so much to many.”

The shop, situated on West Street and owned by Ellen Austin, is holding the auction sale until Saturday and is still using its staff until its doors close for good.

Moss said they would then decide, depending on how much stock had already been sold, whether to continue with the sale or auction the remainder off.

“The sale has been going very well, although it wasn’t easy initially selling the stuff because nobody wanted to buy a whole roll of material . . . But we worked out something around that and stuff is going,” he said.

Austin and former business partner Charmaine Woolard took over Mums from Abubaker Munshi seven years ago. Woolard, however, has since left the business.

Austin could not be reached for comment.

The shop moved to its current premises in 2011, boasting two floors, and regular clients started noticing the changes when the second floor was done away with months ago.

While some expressed shock at news of the closure, others claimed to have seen it coming as stock had become expensive.

Regular customer Hlubi Hewitt-Coleman described the closure as a major loss for the city.

“For some of us who like to create their own clothes, this is a huge loss. We grew up with Mums. This is a very sad story.”

East London customer Zanele Ngonyama said she would find any excuse to come to Port Elizabeth so she could indulge in some fabric shopping.

“It was a lovely place to shop, and their fabrics were appealing to the soul,” she said.

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