Company story staff circa 1951. First row L-R: Manager J. Lloyd Crowe, Albert Hild, Al Coverdale, Tommy Alty, Hilda Phillips, Christina Wolfe, Lena Fresu, Jimmy Kinahan, Rita LePage, Peggy Royce, Ernie Andreas. Second row L-R: Danny MacDonald, Noreen Sewell, Dorothy St. Marie, Jean Hewlett, Joan Rogers, Anna Devito, Celia D’Arcangelo, Betty Forgie-Thompson, Rose Venier, Jean York, Jim Kirker, Jack Reardon. Third row L-R: Harry Mann, Jack Arnold, Lloyd Wilkinson, Draga Wolfe, Sheldon Craig, Tony Krause, Jim Mark, Grace Hall, Johnny Woods, Geoff Hinton. Back: Ernie Strudwick. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Company story staff circa 1951. First row L-R: Manager J. Lloyd Crowe, Albert Hild, Al Coverdale, Tommy Alty, Hilda Phillips, Christina Wolfe, Lena Fresu, Jimmy Kinahan, Rita LePage, Peggy Royce, Ernie Andreas. Second row L-R: Danny MacDonald, Noreen Sewell, Dorothy St. Marie, Jean Hewlett, Joan Rogers, Anna Devito, Celia D’Arcangelo, Betty Forgie-Thompson, Rose Venier, Jean York, Jim Kirker, Jack Reardon. Third row L-R: Harry Mann, Jack Arnold, Lloyd Wilkinson, Draga Wolfe, Sheldon Craig, Tony Krause, Jim Mark, Grace Hall, Johnny Woods, Geoff Hinton. Back: Ernie Strudwick. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: Retailers of yore

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

The Company Store was a mainstay among Trail retailers back in the day.

First opened in 1917 on Bay Avenue, the store’s initial purpose was to offer employees and the town some security from inflation.

“Starting with a small grocery inventory, trade at the Company Store grew to the caliber of a typical department store, with delivery services,” explains Sarah Benson-Lord, Trail Museum and Archives manager.

“In 1925, construction on a new, larger space began at the corner of Cedar Avenue and Eldorado Street. Here, the Company Store thrived until its sale in 1951 to the Hudson’s Bay Company, who constructed a new brick building in 1954.”

More recently remembered as Zellers, the building — now Pharmasave — remains a fixture in downtown Trail.

This image from the Trail Historical Society shows Company Store staff, taken shortly before the business was formally taken over by the Hudson’s Bay Company on Thursday, Nov. 1, 1951.

Read more: Trail Blazers: A city of remarkably talented artists

Read more: Trail Blazers: The Great Gourd

(Tip: To read all our Trail Blazers features, scroll to the bottom of the Trail Blazers stories and click the “Local History” tag.)

About HBC

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC; French: Compagnie de la Baie d’Hudson) is a Canadian retail business group.

A fur trading business for much of its existence, HBC now owns and operates retail stores in Canada and the United States. It had been a member of the International Association of Department Stores from 2001 to 2005.

In 2006, an American businessman, Jerry Zucker, bought HBC for US$1.1 billion, so it is no longer a Canadian-owned company.

The company sold most of its European operations by August 2019 and its remaining stores, in the Netherlands, were closed by the end of 2019. HBC owns the Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th stores in the United States; most other American operations were sold by mid-2019 and the last remaining stores (Lord & Taylor chain) were sold prior to the end of 2019.



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