The History
of the Swan River Valley
Manitoba, Canada

Corner Store

The Corner Store was owned and operated by John and Elsie Dubreuil and family (922 Main St.) was originally our dwelling house built in war time from two buildings bought from W. Sinclair. The store commenced operation in September 1957. The store was a room 10x12 and opened with the aid of five hundred borrowed dollars from the Bank of Montreal. The business expanded beyond expectations so we were forced to build to present size of building. Our hours were 8am-11pm, seven days a week for the convenience of the public. Our suppliers were from McDonalds Consolidated in Swan River, and Rogers & Sons in Dauphin.
As time went on the store named “Honest John’s” came about from decorating for Rodeo on a slab with axle grease “Onest Jon” by Vivian. It stuck. We remained in business until November 1, 1971, and sold to Wm Johanson. He operated it for eight years, and sold to Jud Scales. The Corner store was in operation until October 1996. We catered to the American tourist trade with such items as Canadian back bacon, pure raspberry jam (case), lemon spread (case), chocolate bars ($.10) Jersey Milk, Virginia, Burnt Almond by the case.

An American from Alabama told his neighbor “you ‘all’ go to that little ‘ol’ Corner Store, they have everything.”

Prices of items sold while in business:
-tomato soup $.16 (tin)
-lard $0.27 (lb.)
-coffee $0.79 (lb.)
-bananas $0.27(lb.)
-Japanese oranges $1.99 (box)
-chocolate bars $0.05 and $0.10
-small package of cigarettes $0.20-$0.33
-large package of cigarettes $0.42

Christmas morning we sold batteries, film and boxes of chocolate.

Submitted by: John and Elsie Dubreuil

John and Elsie Dubreuil in front of the Corner Store.

Interior of the Corner Store.

Manitoba's Swan River Valley is an area rich in history. This material was a part of the 1998 Pioneer Centennial History Book project. If you would like the history of your area available online, have your historic group contact the Key Rock Group for information on electronic publication.