This is a story about a man who loved making fine furniture...
In 1937 at the age of 12, David Arthur Lewis started making letterboxes in his spare time and selling them to Smiths City. His youthful entrepreneurial spirit was more than a flash in the pan. In 1945, after completing his cabinet-making apprenticeship, he formed D A Lewis & Company.
The company started out in David’s backyard shed, manufacturing side-tables and bedroom furniture, sold through Smiths City, Holmes and Sons, and McKenzie and Willis. Soon David expanded his range to make dining tables and occasional furniture, and in 1958 started manufacturing sofas and lounge suites.
KEEPING UP WITH DEMAND
The good people of Christchurch knew a fine piece of furniture when they saw it! Business grew rapidly and D A Lewis relocated in 1961 to much larger premises in Manchester Street to meet increased demand and have room to build the large range of furniture they now manufactured.
By the late 1970’s the company was wholesaling furniture throughout New Zealand, and by the 1980’s, DA Lewis was exporting to Australia and Papua New Guinea. Commercial contracts for hotels, motels and institutions were also being undertaken from the 1970’s.
RISING FROM THE ASHES
A fire in April 1985 almost completely destroyed the Manchester Street factory. David Lewis said, “We will do our best not to let our customers down”.
He didn’t let them down, and DA Lewis was not deterred by this setback. The company bought the old H. W. Smith Timber yard on Main South Road, opposite the Wigram RNZAF Base. By April 1988 a new showroom, factory and offices had been built on the site. The new factory had a floor area of 90,000 sq ft., 40,000 sq. ft. more than the old factory and the new showroom was a massive 22,000 sq. ft with room for further expansion.
David Lewis made the DA Lewis brand synonymous with beautiful, high quality New Zealand made furniture. Today our team of talented designers, craftsmen and women continue his tradition.
The second generation of the Lewis family are leading the development and growth of DA Lewis into a new century, and perpetuating David’s values of quality craftsmanship, strong relationships with our customers and caring for our team and the local community.