Kouga Express

Iconic Jeffreys Bay factory shop closing its doors after 22 years of trading

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The owners of this iconic shop have decided to close its doors.
The owners of this iconic shop have decided to close its doors.
Photo: Supplied

After 22 years of trading, the owners of the iconic J/Bay Factory Shop at 10 St Croix Street, Jeffreys Bay has decided to close its doors.

Jethro Jewel, the current CEO of Quiksilver South Africa, said, “It’s the end of an incredible era!”

In the year 2000, Robin and Irma Morris, opened this store as a JEEP Factory Shop.

“We’d already opened the Quiksilver Factory Shop but still had these vacant premises further down on our property,” recalls Robin. “Our partner in Durban was the CEO of JEEP Apparel South Africa.

“We were at the Musgrave Agencies Head Office on a Quiksilver seasonal buy for all our Quik stores in the area, when we connected with him, and he suggested we use the vacant premises for a JEEP store, and we could also include several of their brands like Wrangler, LEE and others.

“We were really excited about this project and spent a lot of time and energy setting the new store up for trading. The JEEP brand was virtually unknown in our area at the time so it took a lot of sponsoring and foot slogging to build the brand. We’d set our target market essentially as the Afrikaans Outdoor Adventure image, ie, the Marlboro Man, plus off-road bakkies, Jeeps and Land Rover enthusiasts.” Fortunately for them, this particular market in the area was a lot bigger than they initially estimated.

During the holiday seasons, visitors flocked to the factory shop store to purchase the JEEP brand.

“We had by now established a market, with support ranging from Cape Town to Johannesburg. We also ran a website, which was busy. At the same time, we were also building and managing Quiksilver Boardriders stores, from Gqeberha to Cape St Francis, plus two coffee shops, for our Durban Quiksilver partners.

“In the seasons, we employed over fifty people. At times we didn’t know whether we were coming or going! Unfortunately, what goes up must come down – in 2007, Quiksilver South Africa sold out to their international principals. We lost all our Quik stores but managed to keep our JEEP store, which was now 100% our own. Being keen golfers we decided to enter the lucrative golfing market and were soon stocking top of the range clothing brands.”

They opened a core JEEP store in Gqeberha, and later a second core JEEP store in Cheron’s vibrant Surfing Village, which traded for five years.

A couple of years ago Musgrave Agencies sold the JEEP brand and overnight they lost the JEEP label.

“We somehow survived two years of COVID-19. However, with continual loadshedding and rampant crime in the area, we decided to rather let go and hand the business over to a family member,” said Robin.

“Irma and I had spent some 40 years in retail, as we used to own a large surf store in Durban before relocating to Jeffreys Bay. The time was ripe to kick back.

“We found smaller premises in town at 31 Da Gama Street, next door to ABSA – across the road from our old Quiksilver Store and Surfing Museum, which Irma and the late Rupert Chadwick had created. Our new “little” store is already open, trading under the name, ’The Beach’. “It has been an incredible journey with many triumphs and equally as many sleepless nights. We look forward to a slower, even-paced journey going forward and hope all our loyal customers from 22 years’ service, will continue to support the new store.”

– ISSUED BY IRMA & ROBIN MORRIS
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