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Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 2, Issue 4, 1990

The Local Store

page 29

The Local Store

The local storekeeper who sold groceries is now a figure in history.

It is so easy, in our modern consumer society with Supermarkets and pre-packaged foods, to forget that this is a development of the postwar years. The cash economy has brought many changes.

Many of us, especially those from country districts, remember the grocer who sold a great variety of merchandise.

He really conducted a local trading post, buying in such things as eggs, buuer and sheepskins. There was little specialisation and, as well as groceries, such items as footwear, clothing and farm necessities were available for sale.

The storekeepers received their supplies in bulk, with sugar in 70 pound (32kg) jute bags, while flour arrived in 100 pound (45kg) calico bags. Flour could also be bought in 200 pound (90kg) sacks. For those customers who required flour of sugar in smaller quantities, these items were weighed out into brown paper packets. Many customers bought by the bagful.

Country store. Stewart Collection. Nelson Provincial Museum.

Country store. Stewart Collection. Nelson Provincial Museum.