||A Community on the Thames |
||Rhodes - A Community on Thames |
||John Rhodes |
||published in1987. |
||The following is an excerpt from "A Community on the Thames" by John Rhodes 1987. p923-924 incl. photo|
The industrialists were not the only ones to enjoy the new prosperity The King Street merchant was now beginning to come into his own and in particular, the grocer. The town's population was, by this time, nearing 2,500 people who must buy food. There were no supermarkets in those days and the small independent grocery store held sway. At one point, in these early years, there were dozens of these independent grocers. More often than not, their venture was a failure but in some cases fortunes were made. Among the most successful were: Hugh Malcolmson, Eddie Snook, Kenneth Urquhart and John McCorvie (Malcolmson and McCorvie later became mayors of the city).
Other merchants also prospered at this time. The McKeoughs in the hardware business, the Stones in the dry goods business and a multiplicity of other merchants offering everything from shoes to shingles.
These merchants were an industry in themselves in that there were no chain stores and the profit made in the town was almost always to remain in the town. In addition, the King Street merchants were, collectively, the largest employers in the area. With the downtown business district being not much smaller or less compact than it is today, the employment opportunities must have been profuse in comparison to the town's relatively modest size.
Walker Stores was long considered to be one of the two "anchor" stores of downtown Chatham, the other being Eaton's. The store was founded in 1852 when Thomas Stone and his partner, Mr. George Turnbull purchased the dry goods business of James Burns (Mr. Stone's uncle).
The firm of Stone and Turnbull continued until 1858 when Mr. Turnbull retire and the firm was then known as Thomas Stone Dry Goods. The store was first situated on the south side of King Street, two doors east of Fourth Street. An October 17, 1899 issue of the Chatham Evening Banner indicates that the business was later located on the opposite side of King Street.
In the 1890's, a new three-storey building was constructed on the south side of King Street, a few doors east of Fifth Street. In 1898, Spencer Stone joined his father in the enterprise and at this time the name was changed to Thomas Stone and Son. For a while, the store was also known as Appleby, Stone and Appleby, and still later the name was changed to Spencer Stone Limited.
Spencer Stone, "Pen"