Recollections of Corinne and Adrianne Lawrence

The Lawrence family have been local business owners for five decades.

In 1966, George and Marilyn Lawrence bought their first home in Browns Bay to later raise their two daughters, Corinne and Adrianne. At this time they started Lawrence Trade Pressing, located where the Bays Club is today. Three years later they moved their business to where the Victor apartments are currently being built (on the old New World site) and “George’s girls” were off to Browns Bay kindergarten, and later to Browns Bay Primary School. The sisters vividly remember the walk down the main street to kindy and to school. Passing Golden Sands café, the service station with the big pot holes (where Westpac bank is), the black house with the big plum tree and picket fence (where Barfoot & Thompson is now), and the supermarket on the corner of Anzac Road with the camping ground (where Countdown is) across the road. With local business booming George wanted to move to the main street, but with nothing available he thought outside the square and purchased an alleyway (near the BNZ). It was long and narrow but was in a top spot.

These were the days when the local policeman lived with his family in a home where the police station is today. At any time you could knock on his door and he would be available to assist. East Coast Bays Council building was a small office on the main street. The “Lawrence girls” remember fondly the old man who used to be at the skating ring with his wooden crates full of roller skates with metal wheels for anyone to use for a small fee.

Saturday trading had just begun in Browns Bay; subsequently, Friday late-night trading began, and they remember the fun times meeting with friends while the shops stayed open until 9.00 pm. Corinne’s business, Stitch ’n Time, was one of the last businesses standing staunch for this to continue.

The Nike Roller Coaster was run for several years. It was so named because Nike had a factory on Anzac Road and supported this annual event. “The route went from Mairangi Bay through Browns Bay, up Valley Road, into Torbay and finished at Long Bay Beach. That trek up Valley road was a killer!” says Corinne. The Nike Factory was a major local employer for a while; Corinne and Adrianne both worked there.

George supported many local sports clubs, including East Coast Bays Rugby Club, where he managed, and sponsored several rugby teams. He always had creative ideas, like wheelbarrow races down the main street of the shopping centre. George was also very proud to be a founding member of the Bays Club.

In 1980, George and Marilyn founded the Sundowner Caravan Park in Relko Crescent, Torbay. George’s dream was had always been to create a top-notch holiday park, but he largely put these personal wishes aside when homeless people (including families) asked for assistance. “There was virtually no emergency housing in the bays at that time,” explains Adrianne. “Dad used to go out and buy caravans for those who had nowhere to live. The op shops did well with us, as these caravans often were made fully equipped.”

In 1997 Adrianne moved her current clothing alteration business, and bought Stitch ’n Time Clothing Alterations Browns Bay. The shop moved to its present location in 2003.

In 2015, Corinne took over Stitch ’n Time and, Adrianne had a complete change of direction, becoming a real estate agent for Barfoot & Thompson Browns Bay.

(First published and permission to post by ShoreLines Magazine)