When Mrs. Maria Sophia Popes opened her shop on Colombo Street (opposite Victoria Square) in 1862, she was in a great position retail-wise. Her little newspaper/stationary shop proved to be so popular that by 1866, she had increased her wares to sell smoking caps, slippers, wool, beads and needlework, all imported from Europe. Beside her were her adult children, her son Fusedale and her daughter Sarah.
By 1872 household goods, wool, needlework and children clothes were the main selling items. In 1882, the family was finally able to move from living above their store to their own house in Papanui. At this stage, Maria was in semi-retirement and things were mostly run by Sarah.
In 1907, the family made the move to Timaru but still ran their business under managers. When Sarah died in the 1920’s, the family connection to the business was cut. This business disappeared into history in 1993.
For a more in depth look at the Mrs. Popes, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/mrs-popes/
* Image courtesy of The Dictionary of Victorian London – http://www.victorianlondon.org/