Chamber honours past and present entrepreneurs
© Andrea Gunn photo
Sponsor Representative Ashley McDonald of Royal Bank presents Michelle Critch of Hair Alive with an award for her induction into the Exploits Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame on Thursday night.
Seven businesses were inducted into the Exploits Chamber Hall of Fame at the Chamber’s annual Business Excellence Awards on Thursday night.
Bishop’s Falls Stores – Joshua Whiteway
In 1922 Joshua Whiteway opened a store directly across from the railway. He sold groceries, dry goods and general merchandise. He originally started with two employees, but by the 1950’s he had expanded twice, increasing his employees to 12. Whiteway later ventured into real estate and rented space to the Bank of Montreal. It was around this time that his son Randolph started managing the business. Bishop’s Falls Stores closed its doors in the late 1970’s, after serving the people of Bishop’s Falls for over 50 years.
E.I. Bishop Photography
While it’s difficult to fix a clear timeline of E.I. Bishop’s early years in the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, there are countless caches of his photographs that are indicative of his work during the early life of this community and area. Bishop set up business on High Street next to Grand Falls Drug store in the 1920’s. Well known citizen Albert Hiller went to work for Bishop in 1937, before heading overseas during the war. In 1946, Bishop did a brisk mail-order business across the province. In the early 1950’s he retired, sold his business and moved
Exploits Valley Royal Stores
The first grocery and drygoods store in Grand Falls-Windsor was operated by the A.N.D CO., the profits from which went back to the community. In 1911, this store was taken over by the Royal Stores. During the early years, the food on tables of the early settlers was greatly augmented by local game: partridge, rabbit, caribou, salmon and trout. The store had two floors of comparative elegance, including the grand stairway leading to the second floor. During Christmas season the Exploits Valley Royal Stores toy department was a dreamland for children. Everything from a needle to a sack of sugar was home delivered from orders received over the telephone. There were two deliveries a day, and customers were offered bi–weekly credit. If you needed it, the Exploits Valley Royal Stores was the place to get it.
Harry J. Crowe
Harry Crowe came to Newfoundland from Halifax in 1902 to enter the lumber trade. He was based out of Botwood where he ran an extensive logging operation, but he was also involved in Glenwood, Millertown and Gander Bay. He worked with the Reids in bringing the Harmsworth Newsprint interest of England to Newfoundland, and he helped A. E. Reid establish a pulp mill in Bishop’s Falls. In 1911, he worked with William Coaker to improve services in his wood camps, and provided a medical doctor to look after his loggers. In 1915, he secured services of a dietitian and public health nurse for Botwood and area. He also promoted the idea of building a railway from Bishop’s Falls to Bay D’ Espoir to take advantage of the timber and hydro power in the region. Crowe continued his operation in Botwood during the war, after which he sold his interest to a well-known Botwood family, the Aitken’s. Crowe was described as a capitalist, a man of affairs, and a dreamer.
Patrick F. Kearney
Born 1908 in the south-west part of Northern Ireland, Patrick Kearney came to Newfoundland In 1926 when he was only 17. His father, Thomas, was a peddler for an English fabric company and he travelled throughout Newfoundland, going door to door selling his products. Patrick soon picked up his father’s trade and peddled in the Central Region. In 1952 he moved to Grand Falls, opening up a store called P.F. Kearney Ltd. located between Riffs and Cohen’s on Main Street in Windsor. Five years later he opened up a ladies clothing store operated by his wife Mary. They retired in 1972, and “Paddy” as he was known to one and all, died in 1990. His wife currently lives in Chancellor Park. Ed Dormody, a long-time employee of the Kearneys, accepted the award on their behalf.
Inducted in to the Business Hall of Fame, Kearney’s Men’s Store (Patrick F. Kearney).
Michelle Critch: Hair Alive
In 1983, Michelle Critch was offered to buy the business for which she worked, which she did, and her entrepreneurial journey began. For over 25 years she operated her one-room, one-chair shop in Badger. Michelle said the house went through four owners, was evacuated in 1988 due to flooding, evacuated two more times due to forest fires, and in the 2003 flood she lost everything. That may have slowed her down, but in time she was back in her basement shop. Michelle says her shop was a special place, calling it “the little shop that could”. Her dedication to her customers and her business is well known in her home town of Badger and the central area.
The Hampton Family (Bishop’s Falls)
Joseph Hampton had the vision to see that Bishop’s Falls would eventually become a community, not two separate places: the Station and the Plant. Hampton’s was one of the first stores constructed on Main Street. He operated the first gas pump, and owned the first car in Bishop’s Falls, known as the Star. Hampton was succeeded in business by his son, Joseph I, and then by Joseph II. In the fifties Joseph II and III established a link for automobiles across the Exploits River. They operated that business until the opening of the Bond Bridge. The Hampton Family is a fine example of the pioneer entrepreneurs of Bishop’s Falls.