Joseph Henry Abbott founded the business in 1853 with a store that supplied everyday essential items to those seeking their fortune on the goldfields. The timing and choice of store ensured that he would become a prominent part of the Bendigo business scene. Abbott's next venture was to establish the New Times Boot Market & Factory in Pall Mall, Sandhurst. In 1867, his wife took over running the shop which was located next to the Bendigo Arcade near Williamson Street.
In 1876, the leather business of T Baulderstone was purchased, and operations were further expanded later by the acquisition of the Edinburgh Tannery at Sheepwash Creek, and The Edinburgh Leather & Grindery warehouse in Bull Street, Sandhurst. In 1889, Joseph Abbott passed all interests in the business to his son, who shared the same name, in partnership with an adopted son, Richard Hartley Smith Abbott. The business continued trading under the name J H Abbott & Co.
A number of branches of the business had been established in the early 1900's, but when hard times fell in the 1920's, the Eaglehawk and Echuca branches were closed, and in 1959 the Pall Mall business relocated to 291 Hargreaves Street. The whole business was soon after consolidated and conducted from the Market Square branch (Lyttleton Terrace) as the Abbott Supply Company.
Harold Abbott, the last of the family to work in the business, died in 1979. In 1980 the business shifted to a new purpose-built store and warehouse on the corner of Abel & Deborah Streets, Bendigo. Sandhurst Trustees administered the business from 1979 until its sale in 1986.
Change of ownership
In 1986, Abbott Supply was sold to a group of five individuals, two of whom were employees at the time - John Tate the manager and Greg Woodman the company accountant. Alan Rohde, Henry Smyth and Alan Knight were recruited from outside the business to become part-owners.
In 1994, John Tate sold his share to John Keogh, and in 1997, Alan Knight departed and sold his share to the other four. In 2005, Alan Rohde retired from his job as Shop Manager, and his son Mark commenced work soon after. Sadly, Alan passed away in December 2006. His wife Jan, and her family, retained a 25% share in the business.
In September 2009, Henry Smyth retired and sold his share to the other three partners
The current partners are:
- Greg Woodman (General Manager) & Jill Woodman (Goods inwards)
- John Keogh (Steel Yard Manager) & Kerry Keogh (Wholesale sales desk)
- Jan Rohde (retired), Mark Rohde (Shop Manager) & family.