I must be somewhat of a sentimentalist.
I just can't seem to go into a Foodliner without feeling a type of cold atmosphere that did not exist in the days when local people operated their own grocery stores.
There was always a warm greeting and the merchant called his customers (in most cases) by either their given or surname.
It seems to me that to-day, when asking a clerk where an item on your grocery list can be located, they tell you to go over to aisle such and such and "it's about half way down." or "you'll find it."
Usually it ends up that you have to find it for yourself anyway.
Back in bygone days a gentleman by the name of W. E. "Billy" Baker owned three stores in the town. One was on Kent St., one on Lindsay St. S., and the third on Queen St. Similar to all grocers in town they offered free delivery.
One incident I shall never forget was my mother telling me about the day a customer entered Baker's on Kent Street. He handed "Billy" an order and after filling it the customer said "just put it on my account."
"No sir," said Baker. "No more credit here until you pay up your outstanding account."
"You know I am good for it" replied the customer.
"Yes, but when you have cash you do your major shopping over at the A&P or Loblaws. Well, I suggest you go over and see if you can get them to extend you any credit!"
The disgruntled customer stormed out of the store!
Some weeks later Mother asked Mr. Baker if his embarrassed customer ever returned.
"No, nor do I expect him to and besides I have many others just like him" he said.
It's hard to believe but Lindsay was laden with privately owned grocery stores such as Lee's located at 100 King St., Kennedy's at Colborne and St. Patrick, Pippies, Bruce's, Fox's at 86 Lindsay St. S., Ed Robson's on the corner of Kent St. W. & Sussex St. N., Earl Pitts at Durham and Albert Sts, W. J. Hussey, Colborne at Albert St., Bill Tresidder, north side of the Academy Theater, Wilbert Nicholls, Queen and Caroline Sts., Harold Staples, King and St. Peter Sts., Charlie Boyle's, O'Neills on St. David between King & Queen Sts., Claxton's that a Mrs. Curtin managed and another store on the South-East corner of Bond & William Sts. and I've only scratched the surface.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Drury's.
I don't know how many years John and his family served customers in the town but it was just a few short years ago that his sons, Don and Ivan, sold the business that was located on the South West corner of William and Peel Streets.
In those days service and smiles prevailed.