HISTORY #3. THE END BUT REALLY THE BEGINNING.
So,,,7 stores but no warehouse. Again fate intervened. A closed public school, located at the corner of Hwy 401 and Hwy 43 was advertised in the Cornwall paper as being up for tender. Rob put in a bid and won. (Along with the legal papers, Rob was given a 8 page handwritten document containing the names of every teacher who had ever taught there, the first kindergarten class, the last grade 8 class, the song that was written when the school was almalgamated with the township school, etc. It should become a play -like the Jersey Boys). For Eastern Ontario history buffs, Lancaster has much to offer. The Breadalbane Schoolhouse was purchased from the Breadalbane Baptist Church and moved onto the property (now the Half Priced Crocs Building). The Cattanach Building was purchased in Williamstown and moved beside the Schoolhouse to become the home of Bedding and Bath. (The history is too interesting not to share. This building in the 1851 Census was listed as a shop owned by Peter Gadbois, a cabinet-maker. On the 1862 map, it is referred to as a general store. Three generations of Gadbois tended shop here until the house was purchased by S. Fraser in 1895. From the early 1900's until it's closing, this building was a general store housing the post office. The National Bank, in 1922, changed it's name to Bank of Montreal, and rented half the space from Simon Fraser (yes...a relative of THE Simon Fraser) who was then owner. BMO operated in this building until 1982 (their old safe still stands in the middle of the floor-never opened since??) In 1946, Clarence Cattanach purchased this property and the building became half bank and half post office (moved in 1967 to a new Post Office). When Rob McIntosh purchased the property in 1987, the building was vacant.) These two buildings were attached to each other by a tunnel in order to facilitate Canadian winters. At the same time the dinnerware industry was very successful and Rob wanted a building to showcase all the products that were available. So two local Polish contractors, Mike Psyk and Mike Fedchyk, worked to build a 7000 ft building for this purpose. The walls were fixture with crates from a Czech company who saved all their shipping crates to donate to Rob for this new venture. Meantime, Rob’s stores were expanding across Canada. Eaton’s chose Rob McIntosh to run the china departments of 9 of their best locations. When Sears took over Eaton’s, Rob McIntosh did the same for Sears. There were 33 china shops from Halifax and PEI to Vancouver and Richmond, BC. These were all run (with the help of the new medium-the computer) from the Lancaster location. So…another 7000 building was built as a warehouse to accommodate the movement of merchandise across Canada. Excitement. But…up and down is the name of life’s game. And…all of a sudden, the dinnerware industry began to lose its luster. So…after opening all these stores, the next 12 to 15 years was spent closing them (we have a Rob McIntosh joke. We opened and closed 65 stores in 9 years. Haha.) Until now, when Lancaster has once again regained its status as the Unique Shopping Experience where it all began. The End… (For more information on any part of this, contact Barb.)