Barkers have just opened its new flagship store, located at number one High Street, an address which is historic for any number of reasons.
At 430 square metres, it’s the biggest retail space the company has ever occupied and it’s located on the same iconic Auckland retail street as housed the first store Ray Barker opened in 1972. Not to mention it is situated in one of the central city’s most beautiful heritage structures, known as ‘Chicago style’, with its monumental vaulted ceilings and exquisite detail.
Years were spent searching for the right spot to make a big bang of the store’s return to the central city. Number 1 High Street, has proved perfect.
In recent times the location has been a bar or restaurant, and Barkers have retained some of that speakeasy feel in the internal design (composed by architects AND).
The deco detailing has been restored to its original glory, with gleaming marble pillars and intricate ceiling detail, offset by beautifully crafted furniture and lighting. The store will also hark back to the city’s heritage, with complementary businesses on site, just as the main Queen St menswear outlets did in the 50s.
You’ll hit the first of these as you walk in, with Barkers Burrs & Grind, an espresso bar with coffee by the geniuses at Eight Thirty – perhaps the city’s finest brew.
Turn left and head up to the Barkers Groom Room – a four-chair barber run by haircutting icon Matt Swan at the mezzanine level.
There will also be made-to-measure suiting, featuring a palette of regularly updated cloths and immaculate tailoring. Suffice to say, this will be no ordinary store.
The size of the store will also allow room to properly display the fruits of Barkers’ collaborations. These include Dunedin shoemakers, McKinlay’s; pioneering bushwear company, Swanndri; locally-woven blankets from the Bruce Woollen Mill and Barkers’ oldest partner, fellow Auckland city stalwarts Parisian, with their immaculate ties and leather goods.
They will be joined by a selection of associated brands, including casual shoes from Converse, luxury grooming products from Baxter of California and the original watchmaker, Timex.
In an era when much is being made of the growth of online shopping, Barkers’ revival over the past five years has been driven by its recommitment to the enduring power of great retail experiences.
The new High Street store reflects the timeless style found on the racks and provides a unique and resonant shopping environment customers will be compelled to return to time and again. For Barkers, it’s a major milestone.
Barkers, No. 1 High Street, Auckland
09 303 2377