Photo: Alex Blair

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BY ALEX BLAIR

This week will mark the end of an era following the closure of ‘Max’s Shoes’ after almost 42 years of service.

Based in Bondi Junction, ‘Max’s Shoes’ has been the go-to shop for thousands of locals in search of reliable footwear at affordable prices – delivered with good old fashioned customer service. Max believed that a strong connection with customers was the key to his success in retail.

“We really do love our customers, and throughout our time we’ve usually been lower in our mark-up than anyone else” Max said.

Max believed that building up a good community relationship on a basis of trust and reliability was the key for success in local business. However, after serving three generations of faithful customers, Max has called it quits on retail.

The reason? High rent prices in Bondi.

“Rent prices have increased for the next five years and competition is rife.” Max said.

Max also referenced the rapid emergence of online retail to have significantly hurt the fashion and footwear industry, especially in small business.

“We have sold online for about six years now.” Max said. “The problem is that most suppliers are also retailers and nearly all are online and accessible to everyone.”

The throngs of eager shoppers in Bondi Junction will be completely diverted to big brand outlets such as Myer and David Jones, a prospect Max said is disappointing but inevitable in the world of big business. Even with stocking over 2800 items, Max found it difficult to battle with the stiff competition of internet retail and large shopping complexes that have emerged over the lifespan of his business.

“The chains and the large businesses have all the advantages and it’s making it very difficult to compete.”

Throughout his four-decade escapade, Max sold everything from swimwear to leather jackets, playing a huge role in what is now seen as iconic Bondi surf culture.

The farewell will no doubt be an emotional one for loyal fans passing cash over the counter for one last discount deal. Customers have decreed it an “end of an era,” which has suitably been made into a farewell banner to be pinned across the shop for its final week.

Being a well-respected member of the Bondi Chamber of Commerce, Max will endeavour to stay active in the community after his departure from retail by offering to give advice to businesses from his wealth of knowledge and experience.

The iconic retailer will close this week, no doubt to the disappointment of faithful customers of all ages.