It’s one of the most iconic brands in the Australian fashion landscape and a name rich in WA history. Most of us have grown up with the family-owned Betts stores – a name that has become synonymous with shoes.
After 78 years, the doors are closing on the historic Betts Hay Street store. On November 28th 2014, the company will open two new flagship stores in new locations on the Hay Street Mall – Betts for Her and Airflex – marking the next chapter in the Betts Group story.
Betts Group began in 1892 when Yoel Breckler, a young Russian immigrant, opened the “Breckler Brothers” boot repair shop opposite the Fremantle Town Hall.
In 1912 when Yoel passed away, his wife Fanny took over the business, turning it into a small retail footwear store, opening the very first store in Hay Street, Perth City.
In the early 30’s Hay Street was called “The Golden Mile” and was said to have more shopping than any other district in Australia. A huge new store was opened on the site where the current Hay Street Mall store stands – it was the biggest shoe store in the country and took Perth by storm.
After Mrs Breckler’s passing in 1946, her two children Cecil and Alec continued the business into the family’s second generation. At this point in time the company name changed to Cecil Bros – the two brothers tossed a coin and Cecil won!
Throughout the 1940’s and 50’s, the Hay Street store continued to be the busiest shoe store in Australia. After a major refit in 1951, it became the biggest shoe store in the world!
After the third generation of Breckler’s joined the firm and took on an active role, major expansion took place during the 70’s and 80’s. The company saw another name change, to the more familiar “Betts and Betts.”
During 1980-81, 30 stores were opened in South Australia, making the expansion a significant turning point in the company’s history.
From the 1980’s the fourth generation of family took the business national, expanding the Betts name to the Northern Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland.
At the turn of the millennium, the company recognised the need to develop targeted brands in order to stay relevant in the modern market. At this time, Betts & Betts stores were re branded to “Betts.”
Today, the Betts Group remains WA owned and is represented by the Betts, Betts Kids, Betts for Her, ZU and Airflex brands with 204 stores Australia-wide.
With the original family values still at the heart of the business, the Betts Group continues to run as a family business, bringing the Betts legacy into the fifth generation.
The Airflex brand was established with a philosophy to create fashionable footwear with a key focus on extreme comfort. With Airflex branded shoes selling prominently within Betts stores and generating a strong customer following, in 2008 the Betts Group began the initiative to branch out the Airflex brand into its own group of stand-alone stores. Today there are 23 Airflex stores nationally with this number continuing to grow, providing customers with a specialised and unique Airflex brand experience.
The unique Airflex technologies and comfort features deliver products that are lightweight, flexible and comfortable for all day wear. Comfort is of the utmost importance for Airflex customers. Being active, busy people, they can wear their shoes from day to night without feeling any foot fatigue.
The Flagship Airflex Hay Street store will open at 8am on Friday 28th November 2014 and will feature a dedicated comfort zone, 3D foot-scanning technology and a wide selection of modern men’s and women’s comfort shoes for every occasion – all with the overarching feature of extreme comfort.
On opening day, the store will be giving out free coffee, fresh juice and discount cards, plus every purchase during the opening month will go into the draw to win a holiday for two.
Betts for Her
Betts for Her (BFH) is the perfect fusion of chic style and value for money. Built on the quality and reputation that the Betts brand is renowned for, it’s all about fashion and fun in a store that’s all for her. To date there are 28 Betts for Her stores nationally, with this number continuing to grow.
The quintessential BFH girl is a 14-24 fashionista who loves to wear shoes that look good and stand out. From luxe glam to urban cool, street chic to work beat, and from towering heels to pretty little flats, BFH has the perfect on-trend shoes for every occasion.
The Betts for Her Flagship Hay Street store will open 8.30am on Friday November 28th 2014. It will be girly, vibrant and showcase the history of fashion intertwined with the hottest styles of this season.
Shoe lovers are invited to attend the open day with their friends to see this iconic new store and shop the latest and greatest trends. The first 50 couples through the door will enjoy an exclusive “buy one pair, get one pair free” offer and throughout the day there will be a photo booth, giveaways and plenty of trendy shoes to tempt BFH fashionista’s!
The long standing Betts Hay Street store will close its doors on Friday 16th January 2015. Everyone is invited to visit the store from now until closing day for the massive clearance sale.
It’s the last chance to visit the store, enjoy discounts on some of the best styles, and say goodbye to a piece of Betts history whilst welcoming in the new era.