Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 41, September 1997

In 1919 Joseph Gamble sold his home and purchased, a business for £1000 from Miss Kelsey and the store of "JP Gamble, General Family Draper, The Home of Good Value" opened on 4 July 1919. The original building was purchased from Lewis Eady, of Auckland, and the family lived in a cottage at the back. There was a staff of two assistants and a message boy.

In 1921 the neighbouring fish, confectionery, fruit and stationery shop came up for sale. Learning of this Mr Gamble travelled to Auckland on the overnight trip on the SS Taniwha, purchased the building from Mr Caley and returned to Waihi on the early train next day. The same year a shop was opened in Katikati (later sold) and in 1923 a shop was opened in Paeroa. After a period of travelling daily to Paeroa by train the family moved there. At about that time the business was formed into a private limited company.

In 1924 an Oakland car was bought and used to take goods between stores. The following year son Gordon Gamble joined the staff in Paeroa and drove his mother daily to Waihi.

In the early days many sales were held and on one occasion business was so brisk that the police requested the doors be closed four times in one day, as the road was being blocked by the crowds. Frequently a car was hired and loaded with goods and taken to the Katikati Show Grounds where people served themselves. On one occasion a horse and buggy taking goods to Matakana Island ended in quicksand. All the goods got wet but were dried on fences and the trip ended in sales of £100.

During the Depression years the Waihi mine kept things going with the shop being opened on Saturday and a 48 hour week was worked. In 1935 the adjacent Academy Theatre was burnt and Gordon made a dash to Waihi in 13 minutes. There was little damage to the store. Gordon acquired the Paeroa shop in 1945 and the Waihi shop had a manager. By then the shop closed on Saturdays and a 40-hour week was worked.

In 1950 the original Waihi shop and cottage were pulled down and the new furniture store was built. In 1961 a van was purchased, followed by the purchase of machines for sewing and laying of carpets. Also in that year Gordon returned to Waihi and purchased a farm. The manager started his own business and Allen, a grandson of Joseph and Margaret Gamble, commenced work for an intended period of six months. However he remained there and in 1973 bought the existing furniture business.

Joseph Gamble died in 1965 and his wife, Margaret retired from work when decimal currency was introduced.