Random Island had about 2000 people when I was growing up, and of course a major metropolis like this needs somewhere to shop. So lets see, how many stores were there? I’ll probably miss a few but and misspell more, and only trying to list those on the go in the mid 70’s…
- Boyd Smith’s – Petley
- Ivany’s Cash Store – Lower Lance Cove
- Fred Burt’s – Brittania
- Art Vardy’s (I think?) – Hickman’s Harbour
- Lislie Blundons – Hickman’s Harbour
- Charlie Martin’s – Hickman’s Harbour
- Willis Pelley’s – Lady Cove
- Mrs. Burt’s – Lady Cove
- Fred Reid’s – Weybridge
- Hefford’s – Snook’s Harbour
- Ron Reid – Snook’s Harbour
- Bax Baker – Snook’s Harbour
- Vick Smith – Snook’s Harbour and….
- Apsey Brook Buying Club – Apsey Brook
The last one, people called ours, but it wasn’t, it was a co-op, owned by 3 or 4 families, and over the years run by May Smith, Cecilia Smith, Alice Smith and Mom. I can’t say I recall it being many places, it’s last location was the old shop building across the road from our house, and we ran it, but I do recall being in that same building somewhere else, I think down on Alice’s garden, but it’s foggy.
A lot of these weren’t stores like now, they had no “hours”, you just went to the door of the owner/operator and asked to go out. Some had more things than others. There was a freezer in the one in Apsey Brook, with some staples like pork chops and fry beef (who remembers fry beef?) and Braddock’s sausages. Treats like Screwball Ice Cream, Buried Treasure, Long Treats, and of course Hostess Chips in the foil bag. We sold salt beef by the piece, and sliced frying ham and wrapped it in waxed paper. Potatoes were in 50 pound bags and sold bv the each or the pound. And of course, we had Carnation mill and tea. Remember Red Rose tea with the little cards in them? Brown paper was on the big roll with the straight edge to cut it off. Our cash register was a drawer with old bowls nailed to the bottom.
One of my favorite memories was of Uncle Larry Leawood coming to buy cat food. He always called it pullit cat food, cause he had been reading the french side of the label. God I loved that man, so full of hidden surprises.
Some of the stores had much more, Boyd Smith and Fred Burt both sold furniture as well as groceries, and you really could manage to get by without leaving the island if need be. I don’t know how any of these stores really made a go of it, there were so many for so few, but they lasted for years and years.
What did I miss? Leave a comment and let me know stories of stores back home.
Raised in outport Newfoundland in a town of 65 people, I pursued a post secondary diploma in Information Technology right out of High School.
I’ve always been a geek at heart, but yet I love the rural life I grew up with. Fishing, hunting, camping and the great outdoors are still loves of mine, even if I don’t pursue them as often as I once did. Sports were always a big part of our lives, and I played many (badly) and loved them all.
Pullit cat food just made me laugh out loud. It’s a bit sad that there’s nothing on the west side of the island anymore. Also, to add my earlier comment from Facebook. “I like how I was at the convenience store today where I bought chocolate last night and checking out their specials on chain saw oil.”
Barb Smith reminded me of the big spool of string that was mounted in a rod in the old store. Was looped up through screw eyes in the ceiling and ran over and down to the countertop where we’d use it to tie up packages
When I began reading this article I wasn’t sure where Random was located, but it sure sounded like Newfoundland (Foggy was a clue).!! I’m still not aware where it is actually located but will do a search when I finish here. My wife and I visited Fogo Island last summer and when you talk about Island stores I remember we had great difficulty finding a place to eat
Thanks for the comment! Random Island is near Clarenville, about half way from St. John’s to Gander. No real restaurants on Random Island either, just small communities of about 50-450 people. Clarenville is a service center not far away with hotels, restaurants, etc.
Thanks for the info, the scenery in Newfoundland is a breath taking at every turn in the road. If I visit Random I’ll remember to pack a lunch!!
Bought my first dozen beer there.lol. Oh the memories