Our Story est. 1938
Dowsons Shoes has been synonymous with providing good value in quality footwear since 1938.
This reputation is one our family is proud of and underlines our business approach since the story began in Christchurch, with Knox Dowson. The budding footwear manufacturer opened his first premises in Ferry Road.
During the Second World War, Knox diverted his efforts into supporting the war effort by supplying troops with boots and shoes. After the war, Knox saw an opportunity to begin selling footwear from the front of his Ferry Road Factory.
Knox's son Keith Dowson began driving the company in a new direction. In 1952, Keith ceased making footwear and began trading footwear as Dowsons Shoes.
By bringing a wide range and variety of quality, practical and fashionable footwear to customers at a consistently affordable price, Dowsons established a position in the marketplace which continued to strengthen throughout the late Sixties and Seventies.
It was during this time that the company began sourcing quality product from further afield as the New Zealand footwear manufacturing industry became deregulated.
Dowsons Shoes boosted as the third generation of the family was injected into the business, sons Knox, Mark and Craig. The business continued to grow and more shops were opened. In Christchurch, additional shops opened in Church Corner in 1972, Papanui in 1978, and in 2006 a mall store in The Hub, Hornby.
In 1981, Keith and Sons purchased a landmark Christchurch building in Lichfield Street, establishing both a trading shop and a Office/Distribution centre. The building was one of the earliest of Christchurch's commercial buildings, originally constructed in 1884 and had only one previous owner before the company purchased it.
In 1995, Dowsons Shoes began expanding through the South Island and Wellington area.
In 2010/2011 the Christchurch earthquakes which rocked Christchurch substantially changed the lives of Christchurch and Canterbury people as well as the physical landscape and trading environment of the city.
Although the Lichfield Street building underwent earthquake strengthening in the mid 1980's which went on to save lives, it still
sustained heavy damage in the Christchurch Earthquakes and was subsequently demolished. The original Ferry Road premises was also severely damaged and will remained closed. Many more physical effects of the earthquakes could be listed. However thanks to the persistence of Keiths sons to have the people of the business working in safe buildings everyone survived and continue working together in strong unity through adversity.
Today at its heart, the company is still the same family-owned business that it was when it first opened over seventy years ago. The family's fourth generation is now working in the business.
While the faces, shops, fashions and footwear sold over that time may have changed, the principles that underline Dowsons brand reputation has not.
Dowsons - For the Love of Shoes
Church Corner 1982