Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe
July 28, 1938 – Springhill Record
With the issuing of this special supplement of “The Record,” Newman Brothers in business on lower Main St, celebrate their first anniversary. One year ago they took over the former Gilroy meat market from J. Walter Scott, who purchased the old and well established business two years previously, shortly after the death of Edward Gilroy.
The history of this old and well-established business forms a large span in the business life of Springhill, running back as it does, for well over half a century. Some 54-years ago, two young men, brothers, Edward and Levi Gilroy, sons of Thomas Gilroy of Saltsprings, went into the meat business, finding a ready market in the new and thriving town of Springhill, which had already passed its first ten years. After two years work they were in a position to consolidate their business into a more convenient service. They leased a lot of land on Victoria Street, adjacent to the old Niagara Hotel, between the Hotel and Murrays, and built and opened a meat shop, continuing to be partners for three more years when Levi Gilroy decided to go west. (He is still living and has made his home for many years past in Minneapolis).
About this time J. Fleming Gilroy, a cousin and son of James Gilroy also of Saltsprings, had lately returned from the gold mines of Butte, Montana, where he had been for four years. On the withdrawal of Levi Gilroy from the business he entered into a partnership with the remaining member. He purchased the present building which faced the old Springhill Post Office, from the late Henry Hunter who had operated a general store. Improvements were made and as there was more space than they required for their meat business a partition was made the upper portion being occupied for a time by J. Hollohan who carried a general line of goods. The partnership continued until “Flem” Gilroy retired to go into lumbering. Edward Gilroy purchased the building and shore and continued the business until his death, three years ago: when it was sold to J. Walter Scott, who had previously been employed with Gilroy’s for a period of fourteen years. He carried on the business for two years when he sold it to Newmans.
Associated also with the old firm was Hance J. Hunter, now of the local branch of the firm of P.B. Evans, Wholesale Groceries, who was in the employ for some twelve years.
As time went on Edward Gilroy had associated with him in the various departments, his three sons, Millan Gilroy now of Victoria, B.C.; the late Lloyd Gilroy and George Gilroy who carried on the business in the later years when Mr. Gilroy was in failing health and was the last Gilroy in the old firm.
The years brought many changes in the operation and business methods. The building was kept in continuous repair and was modernized at various times to meet changing conditions, one of the first being to recover space and stock. One time the renovation included a whole new front.
An old photograph shows a platform across the entire front, reached by a half dozen steps, while there is only a slight incline from the pavement. This is explained by the fact that Main Street is a region of many springs. This section was wet and appallingly muddy so that during the early years a great deal of work was required to this being now happily obviated by modern paving.
The present firm of Newman’s Market is owned and operated by the Newman Brothers, Douglas and Roy, local boys, sons of Fred Newman, Chapel Street, who owns and operates the local Brookfield Ice Cream Plant and in season, The Palace Rink. Prior to starting in business for themselves, the Newman Brothers were valued employees of the firm of Hopkins and Herrett, Meat and Groceries. Douglas was meat cutter while Roy, the younger, was a clerk. Douglas, who started working at fifteen, gained the greater part of his experience in meat cutting from the late Arthur Hopkins, gaining value experience also in visiting packing houses in Montreal and Toronto. This grounding coupled with a natural executive ability is of great value in the management of the new firm, of which he is the general business manager; while Roy has charge of the operation of the store. The splendid success of their first year in business is indisputable evidence of their business ability and popularity. In this short time they have set a pace for the future which their many friends hope will develop with the years into a bigger and better business.
HL: 1938 food prices
Here are some of the groceries Newman’s had on sale that week:
Hamburg lb. - 10c; breakfast bacon lb. - 35c; T-bone or sirloin steak lb. - .27c; fresh killed fowl – 23c; Sunkist oranges 69c peck; Oxford Creamery Butter – 2 lb – 55c; Fox’s Lanes’ bread – 10c loaf; Regal flour – 98 lb bag – $3.65; sugar – 100 lb bag – $5.15.