General/Convenience/Grocery Stores of Little Heart’s Ease

Claribel Drodge

Photo credit: Harvey Bailey

The store belonging to Mrs. Claribel Drodge was built by her son-in-law, Everett Drodge, in the mid 1950s.

Prior to this store, Claribel (or Babboo as we affectionally called her) had a small store in her house in Squidholes. She started that store some time in the late 1930s after her husband, Eldon Drodge, was drowned (1936).

When Mother, Selina, and Dad, Everett, married in 1954 they lived with Babboo until Dad finished their house down the road and they moved in 1957. The store in the picture would have been built around the same time, as Babboo moved with Mother and Dad. Babboo ran the store until 1977 when she retired and sold it to Harvey Bailey.

The store, as seen in the picture, is the original shape, although the siding was added by Harvey. It was just a large rectangular room with a counter on each site of the front door. The right side of the store held food. Shelves of canned, jarred and packaged food. There was also candy and candy bars. Underneath the shelves there were bins containing rice, beans, peas, etc., and sometimes chicken feed! The left side of the store contained “dry goods” usually a few tea towels, face cloths and towels, flannel sheets and “steppines, slips and baby dolls!” There were wool socks, a few flannel shirts, rubber boots and “gaiters”, and a few other miscellaneous household goods, such as cleaning and laundry supplies. The back room, or backplace as we called it, was where vegetables and big buckets of salt beef and pork were stored. There wasn’t much fresh meat as initially there was no freezer, so the meat, usually boxes of chicken legs, fresh beef or pork, would be delivered by Short’s from Deep Bight on Saturday’s and would be all sold by the end on the day. There were always whole bolognas, ham sometimes and always a wheel or 1/2 wheel of hard cheese! Later on, after electricity, there was a freezer and ice cream. You could buy an ice cream cone for 7 cents! My sister still uses the scoop for mashed potatoes!

People who came to the store did not pick up groceries as we do today, but they stood at the counter and she placed the items on the counter for them. As well, there were many people who did not come to the store but sent along a note and she would pack up the groceries for them. Often times, folks would list items without specifying what type, for example, cake mix, jelly powder, meat, etc. and she would choose what to give them, depending upon what was available.

Most people purchased food and goods by credit, or “tick.” She had an exercise book for each family in which she would write down the items and the cost. Periodically (not sure if it was weekly or monthly) she would tally up the cost and give the families a bill for what they owed. Sometimes she got paid. When a family paid, the bill was “ticked” off in the exercise book.

Each summer, Babboo would go to St John’s on a buying trip, usually for dry goods and in preparation for Christmas. Later in the fall, large metal crates would arrive with all of the items she had purchased. They would be stuffed with straw and would measure about 4 cubic feet.

Young people hanging out on the “wall.” (Photo courtesy Harvey Bailey)

Those were the most exciting times of the year for my siblings and me. We would get to help unpack the crates and organize the contents. And what bounty there was! Dolls with blond hair and dark hair, dolls in nurses’ uniforms, boy dolls and girl dolls; sail boats and speed boats; puzzles, games, paint sets, colouring books and crayons; tea set and guns with holsters, and caps! And a few special dry goods for the adults: packages of men’s and ladies’ handkerchiefs; dress socks and nylons; boxed ladies nighties and men’s shirts and ladies and men’s scarf and glove sets. Everything an outport family needed for Christmas!

The store was perched on top of a rocky outcrop. To ensure the safety of her customers, and to support the cliff, Babboo had a cement wall built along the front and down the side of the cliff to the road, to support a handrail. That wall quickly became a favourite gathering place for the youth of the community. Many hours were spent sitting on the wall, chatting, eating potato chips, drinking pop, and “courting!” Its likely that there are relationships still alive and well in SWA that began on wall in front of the store belonging to Mrs. Claribel Drodge!

Written by Faye Drodge


J. Dodge Groceries & Confectionery

(Photo courtesy of their daughter, Juanita (Dodge) Kearney)

Clarabelle and Jonah Dodge opened a store in the basement of their house in the late 1950s, early 1960s. They sold everything from food to dry goods. On Saturday nights people came to the store to watch wrestling and enjoy the chicken and chips that Mel Dodge and Hal Dodge sold.





Nehemiah and Effie Stringer’s Store

Left photo – Nehemiah and Effie Stringer’s store at Little Heart’s Ease.  (Photo courtesy of Nehemiah and Effie Stringer)            

Right photo – Effie behind the counter with weight scale in front. (Photo courtesy of Alonzo Stringer)




Lloyd Dean – Squid Holes (same store as Otto and Nellie Martin)

Jonah Dodge – Little Harbour

Rod Dodge

Dorothy Drodge

Eldred and May Drodge – in the basement of their home in Squid Holes.

Ethel Drodge

Les Drodge – store up from the government wharf where he lived with is father John Drodge

Norman and Virtue Drodge – attached to their house on the Point – store in operation until 1960

Pearl Drodge – on the Point

Kay Jacobs – had a store after Otto sold it and Lloyd Dean bought the property and put a new store there

Edith Norris

Ernie Norris

Flossy Martin – on the Point

Otto and Nellie Martin – Take out, pool table and a jute box

Ruby Martin – on the Point

Moses and Emelina (Vey) Martin – on the Point

George Strong – a grocery store with gas pumps in Little Harbour

Herbert Spurrell – Takeout/hangout

Doug Stringer – on the Flat

Wes Stringer

Miriam Vey – in the bottom

Elaine Warren – Little Harbour