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By Farley Wuth, Curator,
Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
Copyright, Pincher Creek & District Historical Society

These half-forgotten businesses certainly offered a collage of goods and services to local consumers. One such venue was the butcher shop operated by Harry (Henry) Drew, a prominent southwestern Alberta businessman. Display ads from the back issues of The Pincher Creek Echo proclaimed that his shop sold choice cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal. Drew also offered his customers an extensive line of groceries. He also ensured that ranchers and farmers wishing to sell produce to his retail outlet would receive “top market prices”.

Harry Drew was born in England back in July 1879. He arrived in Canada in 1910 and set up a butcher shop in the Crowsnest Pass’ coal mining settlement of Coleman. The 1911 Census listed him as a butcher, a start of a thriving career. His wife Mary was two years his junior, and the couple had one daughter Winifred, born in December 1909.

The Rex Grocery was a regular business feature from the late 1920s. Promotional literature noted that this outlet had a complete line of top quality groceries being sold at very reasonable prices. Regular stock included flour and bread. The store offered delivery of groceries to Pincher Creek patrons and service inquiries could be accessed by phoning 110. Rex Grocery was owned by Fred A. Fortin, who local history buffs will recall worked for Alex Lynch’s livery stable in town during the early 1900s. A few years later, Fortin operated a homestead in the Fishburn District.

The Terrill Floral Company Ltd was a well patronized Pincher Creek business from the same era. Locals were invited to purchase flowers or bouquets there for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or any other special occasion. Owned by the Twin Butte pioneer family, the Terrills, two local businesses were contracted to serve as Pincher Creek agents at which orders could be placed. The first was with S. A. Tucker who operated the Hub Cigar Store and the second was with Thomas Herron Scott who operated a furniture store as well as the Scott Block, a landmark featured on the south side of Main Street from circa 1904 to December 1950.

A lesser known Pincher Creek furniture store operated under the name of “the Furniture Dealer”. It specialized in new and second-hand furniture being exchanged, sold or purchased. The business was owned and operated by Alfred (popularly known as Frederick) A. Fournier. As of the late 1920s, this New Brunswick originating family of three siblings and their descendents had been active in Pincher Creek’s business community for nearly thirty years. The Dominion Census of 1911 listed F. A. Fournier, born in March 1886, as a merchant working with confectionaries and furniture. His brother Joseph, nearly six years his senior, worked on a commission basis purchasing cutters. Joseph’s wife Flavia was born in August 1879 and he had a younger brother Mamie born in May 1890.

One favorite local business from 1927 was Hyslop’s Ladies’ Wear, largely supported by Pincher Creek’s growing family-based population. The store launched weekly display ad features in the Pincher Creek Echo, which added to its popularity. Hosting a post-Christmas half-price sale on all hats in stock, it was accompanied by “special clearing prices” on a selection of wool and party dresses as well as fall coats. On hand also was a large selection of fabric stock, particularly georgettes, velvets and silks, advertized as excellent materials for the latest styles of spring dresses from the late 1920s. Dresses could be made on order in the store’s rear work room. The Hyslop Family had Crowsnest Pass connections where they resided in Coleman and worked in the coal mining industry.

Pincher Creek continued to be the primary commercial centre for the area’s agricultural industry during the 1920s, resulting in several thriving local businesses including these half-forgotten outlets.

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