Bussell Bros of Windsor a 'modern shopping' experience for 1930

Just in time to profit from pre-Christmas sales, Bussell Bros grocery and general store opened its doors in George Street, Windsor in November 1930. Percy Herbert Bussell had commenced business in about 1900 when he moved from Orange to purchase a small grocery shop in Sydney.

His business grew and within a few years he took his brother Henry George into the business. The pair registered the firm of Bussell Bros in April 1919. Over the next thirty years the brothers expanded their empire to include twenty-six stores spreading across the suburbs of Sydney.

A Bussell Bros advertisement from Windsor & Richmond Gazette 28 Nov 1930 p. 5.

A Bussell Bros advertisement from Windsor & Richmond Gazette 28 Nov 1930 p. 5.

In 1930, the brothers branched out and invested in stores in Penrith as well as Windsor. Bussell's slogan cried out: "We don't sell cheap goods - we sell goods cheap". Opening specials included "ready cooked hams", "Xmas cakes (don't bother making your own)" and less festive items such as "tobacco at city prices" and "prime wheaten chaff". Free home delivery was offered on purchases over £1 within 10 miles of the Windsor Post Office.

The building in Windsor Mall which still bears the Bussell Bros name was opened in March 1932. The site was formerly the premises of Gatward Bros Produce Store and had been extensively remodelled and "transformed into a spacious emporium with every modern convenience".

The management of Bussell's Windsor store were generous in their support of the local community. Prizes were donated for equestrian events in the Hawkesbury Show for many years and following the flood of 1934, Bussell Bros offered local farmers discounted rates on produce items such as chaff fertilisers.

The firm also sponsored the "Back to Windsor Week" celebrations which were held in November 1932. For the (British) Empire Day celebrations held each year on 24 May, the store always stocked a large assortment of fireworks advertising that the "the little kiddies will get good fun out of Bussell Bros' fireworks at very small cost."

The years of the Second World War were a time of shortages and rationing of many basic and luxury goods resulting in stock shortages and reduced profits. After the war, in an attempt to attract new customers and boost sales, new lines and departments were introduced. In 1947, a crockery and glassware department opened and the store carried a range of children's toys such as Meccano Sets.

In the same year, the store manager applied for a liquor licence and customers could pick up an informative free booklet on the correct selection, care and serving of various Australian wines.

Following the death of its founder Percy Bussell in May 1945, the firm began to flounder and in 1949 was placed in liquidation. It was amalgamated with several other regional chain stores to form Grocery and General Merchants Ltd and the remaining Bussell Bros stores including Windsor continued to trade under their original name.

By the mid-1950s the face of the retail grocery business had begun to change and Bussell Bros premises and service model was beginning to appear old fashioned. In May 1955 Bussell Bros, Windsor closed its doors for the last time.