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- About us
McKenzie & Willis was founded in 1906 as a partnership between Mr Joseph Willis, and Mr R.S. McKenzie. The partnership started business as a real estate agency also auctioning and retailing second hand furniture, servicing the rich pastoral lands of the Canterbury Plains and the burgeoning economy of urban Christchurch city. They operated from premises on the western side of Cathedral Square on the first floor of the Royal Exchange Building. From that time, the name of McKenzie & Willis has been firmly associated with the furnishing trade.
The business continued in that form until 1914 when the partnership was dissolved and Joseph Willis continued the business under the original name. In 1928, the Royal Exchange buildings were purchased by Christchurch Cinemas for reconstruction as the Regent Theatre and McKenzie & Willis purchased new premises at 120 Hereford Street. Known then as the Queens Theatre, the building was reconstructed, adding another storey to give four floors presenting home furnishings including furniture, floor coverings, window treatments and home appliances, with a modern facade. In 1955 the premises of the old established grocery business of Wardells Kincaids Ltd in Colombo Street were leased and linked to the Hereford Street Building. McKenzie & Willis went on to develop an Arcade of sixteen shops on the ground floor which included a walkway through to the premises of Whitcombe and Tombs, a leading retail bookseller and stationery company.
In 1980 the company purchased another local furnishing retailer - AJ Whites, situated on the Tuam Street, St Asaph Street, High Street "triangle". The two businesses continued trading on both sites until the sale of the Hereford/Colombo Street site allowed the whole operation to be amalgamated. After a substantial building refurbishment and upgrade, the company proudly opened the doors of the new McKenzie & Willis showrooms in 1987, the site which it still occupies today.
Recognising the potential growth in servicing other areas of the South Island, an expansion into regional branch stores started in 1973 with the purchase of Carter Joseph Limited in Timaru. Since then, further branches have been opened in Dunedin, Queenstown and Wanaka, allowing an extensive service network throughout the South Island.
Today, McKenzie & Willis continues to build on a proud tradition of innovation and quality. The company is continually looking to improve on its retail environments to increase its range of products and services and allow customers greater access to a total home furnishing and decor "experience". This is underlined by the recent move in Queenstown to larger, brighter premises and the further development and upgrade of the "flagship" store in Christchurch.
Our Vision, Our Culture
McKenzie and Willis have over 100 years experience in building relationships and providing quality service you can trust. The McKenzie and Willis brand is firmly built on the following 5 core values:
- Experienced and enthusiastic staff, who are passionate about the home environment.
- Support from professional management and administration to ensure every client’s needs are fully cared for.
- Whether your project is large or small, our qualified interior designers can help you every step of the way.
- We take pride in the product we sell. All product must meet and exceed our quality standards to ensure you have enjoyment from it for many, many years.
- We guarantee our products. If something fails to perform to expectation it is our priority to have this put right.
- We have leading brands from NZ and around the world. We regularly attend international shows and our staff are kept abreast of the very latest in trends. Many of our staff are fully qualified interior designers.
- We pride ourselves on our showrooms as a place to carry out consultations and we work hard to present a beautiful environment to inspire and excite.
- We are one of the largest retailers of home furnishings in the country. This buying power allows us to bring you the very best products at the most attractive value.
- Joining our customer loyalty programme can qualify you for substantial discounts as well as other benefits and privileges.
- We have free delivery, free-making on curtains and free measure & quote on flooring and window furnishings.
- We offer an extensive, affordable range of home furnishings to cater to a wide variety of tastes, from contemporary pieces to the more traditional.