A Little Bit About Arthur Bales

There is no coincidence that the Family name Bales shares the same name as a “bale of wool”. Textiles have been a part of our DNA for centuries.

The Arthur Bales store was started by Arthur Bales, a young immigrant from Norwich in England. He carried on the family’s name association by opening a drapery and outfitting store in Johannesburg.

Founded in 1902 by Arthur Bales on his return to Johannesburg after the Boer War. We started as a small drapery and clothing store on the corner of De Korte and de Beer streets in Braamfontein.

The business grew from strength to strength in the early bustling city. After opening another two stores, the flagship store moved in the early 1920’s to the corner of De Korte and Biccard Streets. This would be its address for the next 70 years.

After the untimely death of the founder in the late 1920’s, his widow Mrs Edith Bales and his eldest daughter Dorothy took over the running of the business. They were later joined by the next Arthur Bales in the 1930’s after completing his apprenticeship in Norwich.

The La Rochelle and Doornfontein stores closed in time and the business changed over the following years. From a clothing and departmental store into a more specialised drapery and haberdashery store. The third generation, Arthur John Bales, joined the family business and opened up a branch in Linden in 1969, the suburb where it is still based today. Sadly in the mid 1990’s Arthur Bales closed its Braamfontein branch after serving customers for over 90 years. The Linden branch then became the new flagship store.

Where We Are Now

Arthur Bales is now actively managed by two members of the fourth generation. The store has always remained a strong family business with our customers and staff being the centre of our family. Some of our customers have been loyal shoppers for over 60 years.

Arthur Bales specialises in dress fabrics, quilting fabrics, yarns and haberdashery and is one of the largest and oldest store of its kind in the country. As custodians of the Haberdasher and Draper trade, and now that you know a little more about us, please get in touch with us. We are always here to help.

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