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Murray Crane returns to roots with Christchurch store

The founder of contemporary menswear business Crane Brothers, Murray Crane, has announced a return to his Canterbury origins with the opening of a central city store.

Crane Brothers’ first Christchurch store will open in the historic Midland Club in Oxford Terrace in February next year.

The Italian palazzo-style premises, commonly known as the Café Roma building, was built in the 1930s to house an exclusive Christchurch men’s club.

It is in the final stages of renovation by local company Box 112, including the meticulous restoration of its iconic pink façade.

An ardent supporter of heritage and the arts, Crane knew instantly that the character building in a precinct rich with creativity was the right home for Crane Brothers.

“It’s a landmark that I admired as a young man and almost everyone I know in Christchurch has a personal connection with or memory of.”

This is the fourth Crane Brothers store for Crane who launched his flagship High St store in Auckland in 2000, opened a Wellington branch in 2007 and cemented his trans-Tasman presence with a store in Sydney’s central business district in 2011.

The confirmation of the Christchurch store resolves a long-held ambition by Crane to have a retail presence in the garden city.

Plans were in motion to open prior to the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, but the dual disasters meant these were put on hold for several years.

“Christchurch means a lot to me on a personal level and I want to contribute to the rebuild and regeneration of the city,” Crane says.

“With my South Island background, it’s also very important to me to become a national brand, rather than an Auckland business.”

Crane grew up in Geraldine and his roots in Canterbury date back to the arrival of his great, great grandfather George Douglas, a pre-Adamite settler, in 1850.

His family has a long heritage of wool farming in the region with Douglas registering the second wool bale brand issued in Canterbury in 1854.

Crane continues to work with Canterbury wool via his New Zealand fabric suppliers, as well as sourcing materials from Italy and the United Kingdom.

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