Early District Stores
The first store in the Elk Point district was the one built by Jack Valentine and Jim Screeton near the site of the Hopkins Ferry, about three miles west of our Saskatchewan River Bridge. It was built a short time after the ferry was installed in 1908. This store was destroyed by fire in 1910 and was rebuilt soon after. Later Mr. Valentine sold this store and built another in the hamlet of Elk Point. After about two years of operation he sold out, this time to Martin and Selmer Johnson. It was then known as the Johnson Bros. store. It was located where our present Petro Canada Service centre now stands(the SE corner of 50Avenue and 48 Street) The Johnson Bros. not only carried a full line of groceries and clothing but also accepted cream for reshipment to an out of town creamery.
About the same time Mr. Valentine built this store another general store was in operation on the lot where our tourist booth stands(the NW corner of 50 Avenue and 48 Street). It was owned and operated by Jim Babcock and continued to operate until about 1925. About 1917 still another store began operating on the lot west of the Babcock store. C. A. Johnson was the proprietor and be too carried a full line of groceries and some clothing. Mr. Johnson allotted part of his store building for an ice cream parlor. He equipped it with a number of round ice cream tables and wire constructed chairs which gave this building an attractive appearance. This store was later sold to Andy Miller, and was destroyed by the fire of December 1941.
After the fire, C. J. Markstad built another general store on the lot that now houses Steve Wolanuk's store. He operated this store as well as his Ford and IHC agency across the street to the east. Later it was managed by Hugh McQuillan (Markstad's son-in-law).
Charles Hood, who was one of our early settlers, operated a hardware store and post office on the lot east of the Beattie residence(a half block east of 48 Street on 50 Avenue). He too lost his premises on March Ist, 1922, when fire burned out the entire block, but rebuilt soon after and continued his business operations in the same location. During the middle 1920s, Raymond Keitges opened his business on the lot which now houses the flower shop (a half block west of 48 Street on 50 Avenue). There he handled a variety of goods and also sold and repaired radios. He closed down about 1927 and moved to the Glendon district where he opened a similar business.
My father, William Andrishak, moved to the Elk Point district in the fall of 1925. He intended to open a pool hall and barber shop however he was unable to get a licence because a similar business was already established in the old Jim Babcock store by Joe Carrier. My father then decided to build a small general store on the lot east of where the Johnson Bros. store was located.
With the coming of the railroad in 1927 most of the businesses located in the east part of our hamlet began moving to our present main street location (50 Street). My father relocated his general store on the lot that now houses the Stedmans store (4812-50 Street). He enlarged his premises and carried a full line of groceries, clothing and hardware. This store was taken over in 1937 by my sister, Mrs. Olga Fischer.
In those days all the local merchants had a number of sidelines - they bought furs, raw hides, seneca root and even some sold lumber and fence posts as well as oil and gasoline. -
Anything to make an extra dollar. During the horse and buggy days the stores within our hamlet attracted business from only a radius of about 15 miles, they all got their share of business and most of the merchants seemed to be happy with their business operations.
When the railroad arrived in 1927 Elk Point experienced a building boom and many other places of business opened. The old Hood Hardware Store building was moved from the east end of our hamlet to the corner lot that now houses our IDA drug store(the NW corner of 50 Street and 49 Avenue), about 1928, and was later sold to Joe Helm, who started still another grocery store. Later he sold out to Joe Bleviss and he in turn sold out to Frank Lambright. Still later it was purchased by Ron Barwick who turned it into a men's and women's clothing store. Another general store in operation during the late 1930s was the one owned.by John Leteplo. It went up in flames on December 7, 1941, the same time as the adjoining C. A. Johnson store building was destroyed by fire. Volunteer firemen had a difficult time containing this blaze which was centred in the area where our Toronto Dominion Bank stands(the SW corner of 50 Street and 49 Avenue). The Pioneer Hotel as well as the remaining buildings on this street were saved simply because of an open lot situated between the burning buildings and the hotel.
This enabled the firefighters to pour a lot of water on the hotel building. Ironically, this same hotel was saved in a similar way during the big fire of March 1, 1922 when it was located in the east part of Elk Point.