A Sydney rug warehouse that has been holding continuous closing down sales for the past decade is finally being forced to shut up shop.
Empress Rug Warehouse at Rozelle, in Sydney’s inner-west, has carried shopfront signage since at least as far back as 2008 stating it will be closing soon.
Local residents and passing motorists have for years been bemused as the business lurched from ‘end of lease’ to ‘$1,000,000 sellout’ sales promising ‘everything must go’, while trading on.
The warehouse’s first and last tenant has explained to Daily Mail Australia that for rug sellers to make any money in Australian cities they have to say they are closing down.
This time they mean it: Empress Rug Warehouse in Rozelle will close for business next year
‘$1,000,000 sellout’: Empress Rug Warehouse at Rozelle as it appeared in December 2009
Everything must go: An end of lease sale is advertised at Empress Rug Warehouse in July 2013
Going, going: ‘Closing sale’ – Rozelle’s Empress Rug Warehouse signage from December 2016
Empress Rugs first advertised a clearance sale in 2006, about two years after it opened, and has been adding closing down signage ever since.
Frank Nasre, who started his first business in Melbourne in 1997, set up shop in Victoria Road about 2004 but moved back to the Victorian capital in 2008.
‘When I moved to Sydney the competition was very difficult,’ Mr Nasre told Daily Mail Australia.
The store’s first ‘closing down’ sale was in 2008. That sale lasted a year.
‘It costs $10,000 to bring the signage down,’ Mr Nasre said. ‘I thought “we’ll leave it there”.’
‘It costs a lot of money to put the signage up. It costs a lot of money to bring it down.’
Empress Rug Warehouse manager Hamid Koochakzadeh at the shop in Rozelle’s Victoria Road
Goodbye Rozelle: Another ‘massive sale’ at Empress Rug Warehouse is announced in July 2017
Prices slashed: Empress Rug Warehous is now having a ‘100% clearance demolition sale’
After Mr Nasre moved back to Melbourne the business was run by another lease-holder for three years, then a cousin of Mr Nasre’s after that.
Mr Nasre took over again in June this year.
‘It has had three different entities within the last 10 years,’ he said.
Times have been tough throughout those years. Trends and tastes changed while stock remained.
‘The cost of keeping the business running will bankrupt you,’ Mr Nasre said.
In 2009 there was a ‘$1,000,000 clearance’, followed by an ‘End of lease: Everything must go’ sale in 2013. Now the store is holding a ‘Demolition sale’.
Mr Nasre said he would have preferred to promote and expand the business but the challenging Australian market meant it made more sense to advertise its difficulties.
‘You get your money when you close down,’ Mr Nasre said of selling rugs.
‘Obviously, you see a lot of closing down sales. Most of the rug shops in Australia have closed down. There are not many who have managed to survive.
Empress Rug Warehouse at Rozelle has seemingly been closing down for the past decade
This time it really is closing: Empress Rug Warehouse will be demolished for a new motorway
Empress Rugs Warehouse in Victoria Road, Rozelle, is closing down, this time permanently
‘The end game is the only game, which is liquidation.
‘The moment it closes down people will buy from you. It has to close down because that’s when people buy.’
But all good sales must come to an end and that day is about to arrive, with the New South Government taking over the Victoria Road site for the WestConnex motorway.
‘At this stage it’s about clearing the stock and that’s about it,’ Mr Nasre said.
In further bad news for fans of Empress Rugs, its sister store at Brunswick East in Melbourne’s inner-north is also closing down and has the sign to prove it.
Mr Nasre said the Roads and Maritime Service had told him to be out of the shop within four months, while hoping there was still a little room to move – and perhaps one last sale.
‘They’ve given us until April 30th,’ he said. ‘But they might give us one more month after that.’
Sister shop: Different city, same problem – Empress Rug Warehouse in Melbourne is closing too