Co-op Store at Little Heart’s Ease

by Lester Green

This story is based upon an interview conducted by me with Eldred Drodge  on Jan 21, 1915 when he was the retirement home at Clarenville.

I remember buying the old Co-op store but now, I didn’t buy it from the Co-op, I bought it from Janes and Sons in Hants Harbour. They bought it from the Co-op and used it to collect and buy fish, mostly salted and dried fish. They sold it to me around 1956. I had to put shores under it because I bought a lot of dry fish back then. People use to salt their fish then. I use to have truck loads of salt brought in from H.P. Dawes, Cupids. I remember one year I bought 1000 quintals of cod. I use to keep the bags of salt down below and up on the loft I would keep the dry fish. I had a bridge from the bank going up to the loft and men would carry it up on fish barrows or a yaffle at a time in their arms, to the loft of the Co-op store. The two building were built by the Co-op.

The last fellow to run the Co-op store was Philip Marsh, he was from Hickman’s Harbour and he married to Pricilla Martin. He only had one arm. He lost the other one by shooting a gun for someone’s wedding in Hickman’s Harbour and the gun exploded and took his arm off.

I bought a lot fish over the years. I had ten/twelve small motor boats that sold their dry fish to me. The boats had small engines like four-six Atlantic and some boats had four to six Acadia.

I used to have Bill Jacobs on the wharf buying fish then.

I sold it to George Warren and his son Wilfred Warren in the early 70s.

I must say that although it was poor times, people had two ways to feed their families: fish in the summer and go away in the woods in the winter. They were poor but they were honest. I saw people come to the store that were literally starving not because they were too lazy to work but because there was no work. I did what I could do for them and I helped them out. When I sold my place and came up here to Clarenville, I was owed money but that was the past. I am still alive and am thankful that I did good for people, I am not bragging about it but I am saying that I am glad that I did it. I was able to help people that needed it at the time.

The fishing premises that once belonged to Eldred Drodge. The small bilding behind the overturned boat was for selling fuel. The middle building with loft was the old Co-Op store where Eldred sold cod and salt on the first floor. The embankment was closer to the building in the 60s-70s. Eldred’s store is the white building on the left. (Photo courtesy Lester Green)