Herbie’s, the 71 year Olde Shoppe
Posted on September 02, 2022 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments
A visit to Herbie’s Olde Shoppe will take you back in time. Located in a small fishing community in Newfoundland, what started as a family-owned general store in the 1950s has since transitioned to a craft shop. Located in a well-preserved 90-year-old building, Herbie’s is here to stay.
Herbie’s was originally opened as Weir’s General Store by Marguerite and Herbie Weir in 1951 in Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove, N.L. Herbie Weir had experience in the retail and wholesale business as a delivery driver for Barrett’s Wholesale, where he delivered goods to stores along the Southern Shore. When Marguerite and Herbie married, they decided to open a grocery store in the back of their home.
In 1855, the couple purchased a larger building from Herbie’s cousin that enabled them to continue operating a store—albeit larger than before—attached to their home. The deal done, Weir’s General Store moved up and across the street.
Serving the community
Known even in the early days as “Herbie’s”, Weir’s General Store sold a variety of items including groceries, housewares and supplies for fishermen. The store also offered much-needed delivery services, since not many people in the community had vehicles. Herbie’s would bring fish from local fishermen to processing plants in St. John’s and return with a load of supplies for the store.
For those who didn’t have the cash to pay orders right away, the store created a credit system that tracked debts and allowed families to settle up at a later date. Customers could also purchase staples like butter, flour and potatoes in bulk and keep them in the store’s basement (since not many had refrigerators) and get them as needed.
Saturdays were especially busy at the store since they were reserved for grocery orders. Customers would bring handwritten grocery lists and items were then packed up and delivered that evening.
Eventually, business and the need for a general store in the community slowed. So, in 2001, the family business switched gears and became Herbie’s Olde Craft Shoppe.
Instead of dry goods and housewares, shelves were filled with greeting cards, stained glass pieces, knitted items, jewelry and other craft items, all made by residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. “In every corner of the shop, visitors are able to find something unique”, says Rhodie Anne at Herbie’s.
Today, Phyllis Weir, representing the second Weir family generation of owners, continues to operate Herbie’s Olde Craft Shoppe along with friend and business partner Rhodie Anne Woodland. The shop is still located in the same building since 1955, with much of the interior untouched since it was originally built in 1933. Phyllis says the store “dates back to days gone by. Customers really enjoy its originality and always tell us stories of how it reminds them of stores they had in their hometown growing up.”
Especially popular among tourists, Herbie’s operates from May to December each year. And like her parents, Phyllis says both she and Rhodie Anne particularly enjoy meeting and chatting with their customers.
Still a place for a yarn, 71 years later.
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