Bluck’s of Bermuda Store Closes After 175 Years

February 18, 2019

After 175 years of operation, the Bluck’s of Bermuda store has closed its doors, saying the “closure of Bluck’s is a sign of the times” as “business has decreased and the costs of doing business have increased.”

A KPMG spokesperson said, “Michael Morrison and Charles Thresh, both of KPMG Advisory Limited, were appointed Joint Provisional Liquidators of Wm. Bluck & Co., Ltd, on Friday, February 15, 2019, by Order of the Supreme Court of Bermuda.

“Bluck’s of Bermuda has subsequently ceased trading and closed its doors after 175 years of operation. The Front Street retailer began business in 1844 as a hardware store and over the years, grew to become a highend, internationally known vendor of antiques, fine china and crystal.

“The downturn in business for Bluck’s can be attributed to four main issues:

  • 1. Loss of its main customer base following the 2009 economic downturn;
  • 2. A change in the tourism demographic;
  • 3. Higher costs of doing business; and
  • 4. Change in modern lifestyles, including online shopping.”

Bluck’s of Bermuda Feb 18 2019

“In simple terms, the closure of Bluck’s is a sign of the times,” said Peter Darling, a Director of the Company. “There is no single reason for us closing. Business has decreased and the costs of doing business have increased.

“Following the 2008 global financial crisis, among the people who left Bermuda were our some of our best customers. Other good customers were tourists; our tourism business has changed, and also, today people have direct access online to buy china and crystal directly from the manufacturers.

“In addition, lifestyles are different – people eat out more and don’t entertain at home as much as they used to. We’ve considered and tried many options to diversify and adapt to today’s needs, but it hasn’t worked well enough and the directors have regretfully decided to wind up the company.

“We are particularly saddened by this turn of events because of the history and our family’s involvement with the business. My grandfather Leslie Darling had an incredible eye for beautiful and quality items, and he did a phenomenal job of building the Bluck’s brand for excellence.”

“William Bluck & Co. was established in 1844 by John Bluck, and he was joined by Leslie Darling in 1935. After the death of Mr. Bluck in 1942, Mr. Darling became the owner and since then, three generations of Darlings have run the business. Throughout Bluck’s history, it operated five stores and as business declined, four shops were closed, leaving the one original location in west Hamilton.

Continued Mr. Darling, “Thank you to all those who have worked at Bluck’s over the years – full-time, part-time, seasonal and summer interns. Many people around the world enjoy beautiful items in their homes every day thanks to you. Times change, and we have to move on.”

KPMG noted, “The Joint Provisional Liquidators will now proceed to fulfill their statutory duties and will prepare to realize the remaining assets of the company, which may include a sale in due course of the remaining stock at the Front Street premises.

“For more information: Any creditors, suppliers or customers are asked to contact KPMG: Shrene Shergill [295 5063,] or Mike Penrose [294 2603,].”

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Comments (54)

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  1. CHRIS says:

    the beauty and grace that was made Bermuda the jewel in the Atlantic is slowly disappearing….

  2. St.George's Passport and Immigration Control says:

    The political climate in Bermuda will cause many more businesses and jobs to fold up.
    You get what you voted for,nothing.

    • Onion Juice says:

      I guess de political climate in Bermuda is responsible for the closing of Sears, Toys R Us, Walgreens, Payless etc.
      Oh I forgot we were responsible for the Global Economic crash too.

      • Anbu says:

        No stupid. You were responsible for bermudas fall. Cause u dummies kept and still are spending money we dont have. Keep proving how utterly useless you are by typing your opinion out. Muppet

      • sandgrownan says:

        Bit of projection there OJ. “You” are responsible for acting with a devil may care attitude over the country’s finances during the Global crash, and are totally responsible for the fiscal mess in which we now finds ourselves.

        Do I really need to list every failure one by one. 16-20 OJ, 16-20. This is entirely on your head.

          • Question says:

            So every failure is owned by you.

            • LaV says:

              He’s way too stupid to figure that out. LOL@OJ

              • Bermy says:

                Nothing to do with the “political climate”, times have changed and Blucks sadly is a victim of this. China plates and silverware are no longer the in thing. Bit like selling typewriters really, bit of a niche market these days. They failed to adapt as the retail environment changed (much like our tourism product) and now have been ejected from the marketplace. It’s a shame but this is life. Adapt and survive or rest on your laurels and the good old days and die.

                • question says:

                  If retail is being hit by higher expenses caused by higher taxes, you don’t think the government has anything to do with that?
                  If retail is hit by less spending by customers because their customers have less to spend because they have higher taxes, higher healthcare costs, higher food costs, higher import duties, etc, you don’t think the government has anything to do with that?

      • question says:

        The US unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in about 50 years. But don’t let facts get in the way.

        In the meantime Bermuda’s retail industry has had 8 unbroken months of sad decline. The only reason GDP is up is because of the airport construction and hotel developments. OBA initiatives.

        All the PLP ideas for expanding the economy have gone nowhere.

        All other economies in 2008 were out of recession in 15 months. Bermuda’s PLP recession last 7 years.

      • wahoo says:

        I guess Beyonce initiative was not enough….Heard your finance minister is writing an early letter to Santa hoping for his very own AC and a new junior minister (one that can talk and make sense). BTW how is fintec and chicken farm working out?

      • Pissant says:

        is your brain up your butt? most of your comments border on insane..Anbu is right. Man the lifeboats.

      • Mark says:

        Remember OJ 24-11 or whatever it is you spout equals Fourth World status.

      • St.George's Passport and Immigration Control says:

        @Onion Juice
        you said I guess de political climate in Bermuda is responsible for the closing of Sears, Toys R Us, Walgreens, Payless etc.

        None of those are in Bermuda,but people like you that blindly follow the plp and get your kicks from writing b/s will soon be begging for Pawn Stars to open up a store in Bermuda.

  3. What says:

    It’s people like you who don’t recognize that tourists today don’t want overpriced china and crystal anymore! Got to change with the times and they should have gone out of business 20 years ago! They would have made money as a coffee house instead!

    • yo mamma says:

      just what Bermuda needs another coffee shop. what they should have done is come up with a complex and effective business plan in order to achieve the break even point in order to cover there costs in order to achieve profitability

  4. LNG says:

    Sorry to see Bluck’s go. Fact: Times are changing with globalization. Stores need to adapt or they will be left behind, no matter how long they’ve been open. Survival of the fittest.

  5. Stinky D. says:

    They failed because they were not that good at business
    They failed to adapt their business to the needs of the customer

    • question says:

      Well, in fairness, they managed to struggle on for 175 years, somehow.

    • Stinging Nettle says:

      Not helped by cruise ship people being told not to go west of Queen Street, more recently, the roadblocks along the sidewalk from restaurants.

  6. Blinded by the stupidity says:

    25-11 and only going to get worse. Bermuda is deteriorating at an alarming rate. We are all in for some very scary and uncertain times ahead.

    • LaV says:

      ” Bermuda is deteriorating at an alarming rate. ”

      No it’s not, it’s being returned to the true owners of bermuda. Only ‘true’ bermudians…where have you been?

      • sandgrownan says:

        Land crabs, skinks and longtails?

      • aceboy says:

        How is this returning anything to anyone? The underlying rhetoric is Mugabe-like, which frankly doesn’t surprise me at all.

      • St.George's Passport and Immigration Control says:

        the true owners of Bermuda,only true Bermudians,
        trying to rewrite history but failing as with all things you do.
        (note correct capital B used unlike you)

        The true owners of Bermuda would shock you if you really knew who they are.

        • LaV says:

          three of you have no ability to recognize sarcasm.

          I’ve noticed when other posters refer to “true bermudians”, none of you have anything to say….but an obviously sarcastic post gets you all sweat headed. LOL

          By the way, bermuda doesn’t deserve a capital B…LOL

  7. Alyssa says:

    I did actually pop into this shop once. It seemed to sell incredibly expensive (even for Bermuda) china and glassware. I’m not sure that they can legitimately suggest that a changing customer base in Bermuda is the issue as I’m not sure this shop would have survived anywhere. It’s sad to see people lose a business, but unsurprising when they fail to adapt to a market place that has changed so fundamentally. Who next? The awful shoe shops?

    • PBanks says:

      Yes it had nice items but it was clearly geared to a specific market/demographic. Like many have said, adapt or go extinct. And it’s a shame for the employees. The challenge to survive, much less thrive, isn’t unique to antiques and china retailers.

      • question says:

        Perhaps it will be replaced by a shop selling plastic cutlery and paper plates. Something more in keeping with where Bermuda is going.

    • aceboy says:

      We used to have very wealthy tourists who would walk in there and order entire settings without regard to cost. Now we have cruise ship passengers searching for cheap T shirts and Airbnb guests who want kitchens so they can cook at home rather than going out to eat.

      • South Shore says:

        Bermuda still attracts a very upscale tourism clientele outside of the Mega-cruise ship crowds that overnight in Dockyard. Been thru any of the Caribbean island lately? We are FAR from that scene thank god.

        Would be interesting to know if there are any stats on lost Bar and Restaurant biz due to the increasing amounts of AirBBs. My feeling is that the AirBBs are such great values that they free up a lot more spending money while those guests are here vacationing (versus an expensive resort).

  8. The Future says:

    Any sympathy for the elderly Bermudians who didn’t get their pensions & other benefits paid year on year?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks PLP. You numpties see the writing on the wall yet? I hope and pray we vote these idiots out next election.

  10. Kayla says:

    Milennials and Gen X don’t care about giftware anymore, that’s all. Baby Boomers are dying off as the main tourist, businesses need to adapt.

    • Bermy's Child says:

      This has nothing to do with the PLP or OBA. Today’s travelers are not by China and Crystals. Businesses need to adapt and cater to a younger demographic of travelers.I’m in my late twenty’s and have never set foot in that store, and I’m sure many others haven’t either around my age.

  11. me says:

    wow the country is nose diving under this government its like the Brown tyranny all over again.

  12. puzzled says:

    Its dee Yoo Bee Pees fahlt.

  13. South Shore says:

    It’s a shame closing down after so much history has transpired. Not to kick a dead horse here, but they should have adapted 5 years ago with more modern desirable products once they saw that their wealthy customer based move away and were not coming back. Should have re-invented themselves–Poor planning for sure.

  14. question says:

    New taxes on imports will make sure we have no retail industry.

  15. FCPT says:

    Not just Customs Duties…People think Foreign Currency Purchase Tax only applies to those buying money for their overseas trips, but it applies to everything imported. And we import virtually everything; from BELCo fuel, groceries, cars, clothes, furniture, you name it. All these things are paid for in foreign currency (US, CAN, GBP etc). There will be a locally created cost of living increase for EVERYONE. Don’t let the smoke and mirrors fog up your vision!

  16. Kaaboo in Cayman says:

    Meanwhile in the Cayman Islands–their business and tourism industries are staging a solid comeback AND–they have an awesome music festival–

    Bermuda is another world–we know what is right its just the world that got it wrong.


    • PBanks says:

      No doubt Cayman has been pushing out intriguing tourist-attracting events in recent years. Bermuda’s been late to the party.

    • Mark says:

      Don’t panic, imaginary Fintech tree will soon bare fruit.

  17. J Austen says:

    I do not know of any successful, top of the line resort anywhere – snow or sand – that does not offer its visitors a top of the line luxury shopping experience. Successive governments and in particular Bob Richards treated long established and experienced businesses as pariahs and instead signed off on foreign carpet baggers who are frankly a lot worse than pretenders if you get my drift. A quick glance at WEDCO’s latest cronies tells the real story. This is a national disgrace. Bad money drives out good and this is the net result. The city of Hamilton needs a serious facelift, visitors need to be properly welcomed, retail businesses must be respected for the investments and risks they take – then we might end up wit something resembling a thriving, attractive hub.

    I’m very sorry to see you close Mr. Darling but you fought the good fight against blatant and disgraceful cronyism, bureaucracy, meanness and arrogance. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

  18. Hyde, Still says:

    The negative and callous comments are vindictive of what we appear to want as a Country. The one thing Blucks is well known for is the quality. Perhaps not all of todays demography, as it is referred to, can afford quality or even want it. There are plenty of cheap paper and plastic plates available; but when you come across the nice China and artwork that Blucks provided anyone is envious.

    It is “another one bites the dust”, and to say they are not good at business is the stupidous comment put forward. Our quality as a Country goes down a notch every time another long standing company closes doors. We can only hope that the owners of all the “pop ups” and boutiques have made an observation of just how those firms did it; and that they can stay open for more than a few quarters before being forced to “pay up” and admit defeat.

    My feeling is one of shame on Bermuda for not taking care of our delicate economy and essentially forcing the long established, mostly family businesses to close doors and leave a big gap in quality and expertise.

  19. Baffled beyond belief. says:

    But didn’t Walton Brown state that the economy is strong or on the rise? Muppets, clearly not. This is not just about Blucks, how about all the other small business that have closed in silence? Go on PLP, continue on borrowing more money to service our spiraling debt and spending money we don’t have and see where that takes us. Bda is in some serious trouble here and its going to get worse. Even if Government were to change tomorrow it wouldn’t change the mess created by you all.

  20. yomama dadda says:

    its a shame that the blucks went out of bussines it was probrably due to the busines not reaching the break even pointe. this was caused by the costs being to high and the revenue not being high enough, the cash inflow was to low causing a lot of problems like not beuing able to pay rent and paying employes bieng a probleme. This makes the busines hard to stay alive, according to the busines life cyclie the product has hit maturit when the intrsete id low and sales are down in order to stay alive they may need to come up with a new product to stay alive and get money to stay alive. i would think thise is a prime example of an inelastic product and can be produced with i higher price.
    good day yomama