The Store 1915 - 2015
Looking back over 100 years of Harvey Burrows and Son conducting business on Cassells Street, North Bay, our history is one of constant change!
In 1915, customers were served at a counter, and sometimes, in the early days, asked young Harvey for items he had never even heard of! All goods at that time were delivered to the store in bulk (i.e. sugar, raisins), measured, weighed, and bagged by a clerk — certainly not presented on shelves in the glossy packaging of today.
Orders were sometimes called in by telephone and delivered late in the afternoon by horse and cart, until trucks were added in the 1920s. Clerks became meat butchers, stoked coal-heated fires in winter, and tended to sales of hay and feed in sheds located across the busy street.
The yard adjacent to the store was filled with cord-wood that many rural customers traded for food during the years of the depression. No customer was ever denied “credit” until pay day.
Perhaps the charm of those early years was the friendly, more personal attention given to Burrows’ customers and often making for fun and excitement around the premises. In season, when fruit baskets were set outside, local “imps” would sometimes sneak a peach or plum until their mothers chased them home! One curious lad even turned the molasses spigot on, leaving it running overnight. Unusual shopping habits on Christmas Eve were of note, when folks would “Santa Shop” downtown early and then arrive at the store at 9 pm for a “large turkey order” to be delivered!
And so over the past century, the store has evolved into the present-day Garden Centre, still giving the same friendly, personalized service, becoming the thriving business it is today, still operated by the Burrows family.