Sitting on 119 years of history, Bustin’s Fine Furniture

Posted on March 15, 2024 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments


Bustin’s Fine Furniture on 99 Germain Street in 1935 (photo credit: Louis Merritt Harrison, retrieved from New Brunswick Museum).

Once a long-standing business in uptown Saint John, N.B., the beginning of Bustin’s Fine Furniture dates back over a century. Generations of the Bustin family operated the business throughout its 110 years, serving customers in Saint John and surrounding areas. While the furniture store has since closed shop, its namesake building is now residential space.

Early years

Charles L. Bustin, founder of the family-owned furniture business, was a cabinet maker. In May 1905, Bustin partnered with Sam Withers to purchase a commercial building on 99 Germain Street in Saint John, New Brunswick. For about 25 years prior, the building was used as a showroom by a local furniture manufacturer, Albert J. Lordley and Son. Naturally, the new business partners decided to open a furniture store of their very own in the space, calling it Bustin & Withers.

Soon after opening, Bustin became the sole owner of the business, which he renamed Charles L. Bustin Furniture. Bustin operated the business until passing it on to his nephew Stanley Bustin in 1927, who expanded operations and changed the name to Bustin’s Fine Furniture.


An ad for the grand opening of Bustin and Withers from about 1905 (photo credit: CBC News)

In the family

For generations, the Bustins operated the family-owned furniture store at the same location in uptown Saint John. In-store, customers could browse multiple floors of quality furniture, including chairs, sofas, beds, tables and much more. The shop also had a reputation for great service, even allowing customers to take items home and try them to find the perfect fit.

Families in Saint John supported Bustin’s since the beginning and over time its customer base expanded to surrounding cities throughout the province.


A photo of the Bustin family furniture business before 1927 when it was still owned by founder Charles L. Bustin (photo credit: CBC News)

Closing doors

In 2014, Historica Developments reported in a press release that it had purchased the Bustin’s building and three others close by that were also owned by the family. Bustin’s Fine Furniture initially signed a lease to continue operating at 99 Germain Street. However, after celebrating 110 years in business, Bustin’s announced plans to close its doors in 2015.

A shift in retail with many large businesses moving outside the core of uptown Saint John and smaller boutique shops opening in their place appears to have contributed to the end of Bustin’s Fine Furniture. Robert Bustin, president of the family business at the time of its closure, reported to CBC in 2015 that Bustin’s did consider a change in location to one with more space and parking, which customers expected for that type of business. However, with the business’ long-established roots in uptown Saint John, nothing seemed to be the right fit and Bustin’s made the difficult decision to close.


A more modern photo of Bustin’s Fine Furniture (photo credit: Bustin’s Fine Furniture on Facebook)

Residential transformation

Today, the building that was home to Bustin’s Fine Furniture for 110 years is now residential apartments. Historica Developments began the transformation after the closure of Bustin’s, which they have done with other heritage properties in the province like the old Hayward and Warrick building.

While Bustin’s is no longer in uptown Saint John, its presence is still remembered through its namesake building almost a decade later.

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