Magazine Article – Stanton Bros (HB) Ltd

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Stanton Bros. (H.B.) Ltd.

It was some 66 years ago, in 1910, that L.O. Stanton set up his stationery business in Dunedin. Prior to this Mr Stanton had been engaged as a traveller for Excelsior Supply Co., where he travelled throughout Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki selling rubber stamps.

In 1929 the business undertook a name change from L.O. Stanton & Co. to Stanton Bros. Ltd. At one time son Percy (who founded Stanton Bros. (H.B.) Ltd), his seven brother and five sisters all worked in the business.

In 1955 Percy Stanton broke away from the business and set up Stanton Bros. (H.B.) Ltd. In doing so he took up a fair proportion of the business in the Hawke’s Bay area. In 1957 Percy expanded the business to include Stanton Bros. (Napier) Ltd.

The Stanton name is well known in commercial business and stationery circles, being the third largest commercial stationery firm in New Zealand after Whitcoulls and Excelsior Supply Co. groups.

L.O. Stanton left behind him 44 grandchildren, and many of them are still involved in the business in some way.

Between 1931 and 1947 Bert Lemin (no relative to the Stantons) broke away from the Stantons firm and

(Continued on Page 9)

Photo caption – Percy Stanton and his family.

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established Hawke’s Bay Stationers in Napier. This business was eventually bought out by Stantons.

In 1947 Stantons went to Hastings. The Hastings store is run by Percy’s children, although Percy still keeps his hand in the business. One of the children worked in the business for about 20 years, but pulled out three years ago to go into the joinery business. David, the baby of the family, has been 10 years in the business. He manages the shop, and is a director of the company.

Still active

Percy still sells for the business and makes calls on firms. During the War Percy handled the stationery department in the air force and he still remembers with amusement the struggles he had at times to balance the books after some airman had walked in and pocketed half a gross of royal sovereign pens.

The Hastings business embarked on the printing side of the business four and a half years ago. This was brought about by the fact that the delivery situation was so bad at the time that there was a six months’ delay from manufacturers to get envelopes printed. They had their trade already established as up till then they had always taken printing in and farmed it out to local printers.

The firm invested in a Heidelberg printing machine and at a later date a Japanese Fuji cylinder machine 18″ x 23″. A power guillotine soon followed after the boys in the back let son Bernard, who is managing director, swing the handle of the manual guillotine to give him the inspiration to buy a power one.

Frank Holliday, who has 42 years’ experience in the paper and stationery trade to his credit (including 20 years (Continued on page 11)

Photo caption – Crossing the “Bealey” in January, 1932, Stanton Bros used to use this Ford Model A for making deliveries in the Dunedin area. In this photo three horses are helping draw her over the river. Percy Stanton and George Warth are seated up front. A man used to be contracted to tow them across near Arthur’s Pass. He charged £1 to tow the vehicle across and £5 if they got stuck. Percy’s son Bernard has divulged that “they did some of their courting in that van”.

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working with Olympic Stationery, seven of them as branch manager in Christchurch), came out of his retirement 12 months ago and joined the firm as a stationery traveller.

One of Percy’s daughters, Connie, who started with the firm in 1955, works on the counter, and another sister, Carol, works in the office on the accounts side. Percy’s wife used to do the banking for the firm: however she retired from this job 12 months ago. One of Percy’s granddaughters, Kathryn, works in the shop on Friday nights and in the school holidays, making the fourth generation to work in the business.

Altogether 14 people are employed at the Hastings store and three in the Napier store.

The Hastings store recently bought out the snooker and billiard room next door, thereby adding an additional 2700 square feet to the 6000 square feet they already had.

Because of the delivery situation in Hastings, the store carries a lot more stock than would a city stationer. They have installed a stock control system in their storeroom, which is marked off on an order basis. David Grainger, company buyer, takes care of this side of the business.

As for Percy. These days some of his time is taken up with helping missionaries. A motor-body builder by trade, Percy doesn’t affiliate with any particular church. His good works include a building for the Open Brethren in Zambia, three months in New Guinea up in the highlands building a dispensary for the Open Brethren and building two rooms on a house in New Guinea for the Salvation Army.

Percy takes his tools with him to a job and leaves them behind on his return. He pays his own fare to the country where he is working, works free and in return the missionaries feed and shelter him. Who said that commercial stationers were a fairly uninteresting lot!

Photo caption – Conference members relax and enjoy the superb weather as they cross Lake Wakatipu on their way to Walter Peak Station.

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