The businesses listed below are those that flourished in downtown Amherst and the near areas of the downtown over the past 75 years. Undoubtedly there were others not immediately recalled, and many more situated farther from the downtown. Whether large, medium or small sized businesses, they were the principal contributors to the town’s commercial tax base. What is important in that regard now is that they are all gone, or if not shut down, have been moved to the malls:
Douglas’s Hardware, Dunlap’s Hardware, O’Brien’s Grocery, Abram’s Clothing, Dominion Store, Moss’s Jewellery, The Bluebird Restaurant, The Corvette Restaurant, The Venus Café, Woolworth’s 5 & 10, The Metropolitan Store, Fuller’s Drugstore, Pugsley’s Pharmacy, Ormond’s Drugstore, Ellen’s Bookstore, Jack Faust’s, C.B Chapman’s clothing, The Oak Hall clothing, The Agnew Surpass shoes, National Shoe Store, Harry Webster’s watch making, Walter Goodwin’s Grocery, The Vimy Café, Downey’s Grocery, Roy Coates’ Garage, The Terrace Hotel, The Amherst Hotel, The Fort Cumberland Hotel, Casey Ford, Chapman’s Beverages, Taylor’s Café, Delahunt’s Body Works, The Shoe Factory, The Blacking Company, The Amherst Foundry, The Enamel & Heating company, The McLean Milling Company, Mrs. Martin Cormier’s store, The Amherst Freight Shed, Rhodes-Curry, The Big Top Restaurant, Billy Mills Barber Shop, The Bank of Montreal, The Nova Scotia Telephone Office, Ralph Bernick’s clothing, Kendall’s Tearoom, The Bluebird Novelty Company, Treen’s Fish Market, McKim’s Poolroom, Canada Electric Retail store, The Paramount Theatre, The Strand Theatre, The St. Regis Hotel, Joudrey’s meat market, The Silver Slipper Confectionary, Lloyd Stonehouse’s Confectionary, LeBlanc’s barbershop, Jack Twaddle’s Poolroom, Ernie Throop’s bowling Alley, Tenant’s Ice Cream & Beverages, Hebert’s hotdog stand, The Salvation Army hut, The Union Laundry, Strang’s Stables & Blacksmith, Bob’s Barbershop, The Colonial Inn, The Amherst Daily News, O’Neill’s Grocery, Jack Smith’s Garage, O’Neill’s Garage & Taxi, Robb Engineering, Bland’s Grocery, Charlie Richard’s Grocery, Robertson’s Garage, Allen’s Grocery, Cosman’s Store, Hugh Trenholm’s Auto Parts, Charlie Bishop’s Store & Beverages, Max Grey’s Sales & Service, Frenchy Comeau – Bootlegger, Purdy’s Feed & Hatchery, The Blanche Arena, Tingley’s Granite Works, Gagnon’s Machine Shop, Florine’s Flowers & Gifts, The Victor Bakery, A.D. Smith Lumber, The Union Sales Garage, The Victoria Lanes Bowling, How’s Lunch, The Maritime Pant Factory, Eaton’s Order Office and Retail outlet, Simpson’s Order office, Tantramar Motor Sales, Morris’s Bakery, The Empress Theatre.
These 95 businesses were as good as it got back in the 1930s and ‘40s. Most have never been replaced, and for most of them the money earned remained in the community. What we have now may be considered by some as an improvement, but tell that to the people who can’t fill their gas tank or buy their groceries in town.
John G. McKay is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.