Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Posted on January 22, 2014 under Storytelling with no comments yet



“Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain…”

James Taylor

Cheers!  Raise your glass and let’s toast a family owned business that has survived fire and floods, big box stores and online shopping.  Come in to the warm and welcoming embrace of the 5₵ to $1.00 store in Antigonish.

It seems like the 5₵ to $1.00 has been here forever and, for as long as I can remember, there has been a member of the Jewkes family running the business.  They have an innate sense of what shoppers want and need and always seem to have what you are looking for.

For two Saturday’s running, I had the pleasure of sitting at a card table, just on the doorstep of the ladies wear department, signing copies of my book.  In the space of a couple of hours I saw hundreds and hundreds of people from far and wide and chatted with many of them.  The 5₵ to $1.00 is like an old sweater that fits just right and makes you feel warm.  They don’t need a welcome mat at the entrance.  You can feel it once inside the doors.

The store occupies its space right next to the Brierly Brook and just about every year, the river gets clogged with ice and, following a thaw or major rainstorm, overflows its banks.  For years that was a huge problem for businesses abutting the river as basements were flooded on an annual basis.  This was bad enough, but back in the day, the basement of the 5₵ to $1.00 housed, among other things, the toy department.  You just can’t sell soggy teddy bears.

And back in 1999, the flood of the century hit, with unprecedented rainfalls causing near catastrophic flooding in the region.  I remember it well as our green Geo Metro was the only car sitting in three feet of water in the parking lot behind the Main Street stores, at the height of the storm.  Our son literally waded waist deep in water, attached a rope, and several of us pulled it out of a raging current.  As it turned out, we would have been better off if we had simply left it to drift down river into the harbor.

Even a major fire did not deter the Jewkes family and, from the ashes, there rose a phoenix.  You can see it on the sign as you face the store on Main Street.

But mostly, the store is a reflection of the owners and staff.  Besides the late Creighton Jewkes and sons Lloyd and Stephen, who currently hold the reins, the names of the staff of yesteryear are as well-known as the letters of the alphabet.  Bob, Tina, Billy, Margie and many, many more spent a good part of their lives welcoming customers as they browsed the aisles of the store.  There is a whole new generation of men and women who are becoming the seasoned veterans.

And no discussion of the store is complete without mentioning the name of Hamish.  Simply put, Hamish is an institution at the store.  He knows every customer and can tell you where to find anything in the store, or who to ask.  If you look up the phrase “heart and soul” in the dictionary, don’t be surprised if you see his picture beside the definition.  Creighton was ahead of his time in so many ways.

For many years, I had the privilege of going to the 5₵ to $1.00 after Remembrance Day to raise a glass with Creighton and many of his war buddies.  We had our picture taken and inscribed a few words into a journal.  And we would always end the session by singing “Pals”.

And just like a good pal, the 5₵ to $1.00 remains loyal and true after all these years.


Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Highland Hearing Clinic

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.