Memories from our childhood – And a farewell to winter


Monday 23rd August – Saturday 4th September 2021

The Winter Sale is a time in the Arthur Bales calendar that has always stuck in my memory. As we prepare for this year’s event, past sale memories have come flooding back. As a kid, the sale was very much a part of us. From helping to fold the printed sales pamphlets, putting them into envelopes and sticking on the address labels. And putting them in batches so they could go off to be posted (the good old days days long before bulk SMS messages and emails). We would arrive at the shop on the first day of the sale with a long queue of customers waiting patiently for the doors to open. Going off to Braamfontein with Granny Bales to help with the busy lunchtime shift (this was our holiday job as the sales always coincided with our school holidays).

As we grew older and the holiday job became rather more permanent. The sale also started to mark more than just the passing of a school break or the coming of spring. Traditionally it was Winter that carried us through the year and now our busy season was over. The darker fabrics would soon make way for the lighter brighter ones. We could breath for a bit, it was the end of our cycle, the new Spring stock would start the next one.

A New Age

I am not sure why the memories are so vivid now, or what makes this year’s sale so different to all the other ones. Maybe it is because last year was the first in our nearly 120 year history that we had to cancel. Or maybe it is us, the next generation, that are becoming so aware of how fortunate we are that we have been around to have had so many annual sales. And after the past 18 months of uncertainty we are still here to open our doors and serve our customers.

Our Braamfontein branch may have closed years ago, posted pamphlets a thing of the past. But the winter sales will carry on. We are here to stay.