‘Your satisfaction, not mere profit is our aim’: a traditional English family enterprise and the textile industry – Arthur Bales and Son, from 1902

After the gold discoveries in 1886, Johannesburg, at first a dusty mining town, developed into the centre of business development in the Transvaal, South Africa. Immigrants from all over the world flocked to Johannesburg, where British immigrants, fortune seekers and labourers soon comprised the largest portion of the population. An industrial sector that benefited from this development was the textile industry, which offered a neat business niche for family enteprises. This article explores the exceptional longevity of the Bales’ family enterprise, established by Arthur Bales in Johannesburg in 1902 as the Arthur Bales Drapery and Outfitting Store. The article deals with the growth of the business, its relocation and business diversification, and the management of the family enterprise. The history of the 107-year old business shows that perpetual reinvestment of acquired family assets in the firm secured the sustainability of the enterprise. Notes, ref., sum. in Afrikaans. [ASC Leiden abstract]

Title: ‘Your satisfaction, not mere profit is our aim’: a traditional English family enterprise and the textile industry – Arthur Bales and Son, from 1902
Authors: Maritz, Leandie
Thorius, Ingrid
Verhoef, Grietjie
Year: 2009
Periodical: New contree: a journal of historical and human sciences for Southern Africa
Issue: 58
Pages: 155-181
Language: English
Geographic terms: South Africa
Transvaal
Abstract: After the gold discoveries in 1886, Johannesburg, at first a dusty mining town, developed into the centre of business development in the Transvaal, South Africa. Immigrants from all over the world flocked to Johannesburg, where British immigrants, fortune seekers and labourers soon comprised the largest portion of the population. An industrial sector that benefited from this development was the textile industry, which offered a neat business niche for family enteprises. This article explores the exceptional longevity of the Bales’ family enterprise, established by Arthur Bales in Johannesburg in 1902 as the Arthur Bales Drapery and Outfitting Store. The article deals with the growth of the business, its relocation and business diversification, and the management of the family enterprise. The history of the 107-year old business shows that perpetual reinvestment of acquired family assets in the firm secured the sustainability of the enterprise. Notes, ref., sum. in Afrikaans. [ASC Leiden abstract]