General Store

Original General Store.  Photo courtesy of the Greater Sudbury Historical Database.The first general store to be established in Skead was owned by W.J. Bell, founder of the Spanish River Lumber Company. The store was located in one of the company bunk houses and was managed by Mr. John Gordon.

The General Store provided residents of the area with gas, groceries, clothing, tobacco, and other necessities. It even possessed a meat house where locals could purchase freshly cut meat from the local butcher.

When the Spanish River Lumber Company closed in 1930, Mr. Gordon continued to operate the store, even though there was no lumber company in the area. Unfortunately, most residents chose to travel to Sudbury to purchase their goods.

In 1942, the Poupore Lumber Company purchased the former Spanish River Lumber Company's properties and began operating in Skead. The general store was subsequently moved from its existing location to an alternative bunk house on the other side of the street. In addition to the store, the Poupores added a pool room, a drug store, and a post office, and even transformed the upstairs of the bunk house into apartments. Gas pumps were also installed in front of the building.

The pool room was operated by Miralda Rochon and was open for business from late afternoon until eleven o'clock at night. Residents would spend their leisure time in the pool room playing pool or purchasing cigarettes or a snack. The drug store, the confectionary, and the post office were all operated by Mary Poupore, wife of Frank Poupore.

Mr. Gordon continued to serve as manager of the general store while Maurice (Packy) McFarlane, the accountant for the Poupore Lumber Company, ran the store and shared ownership with John Poupore.

The general store was open Monday to Saturday until 6:30 p.m. and closed on Sundays. As business began to increase, additional staff was hired to assist Mr. Gordon with the store's operations. The store also possessed an ice shed behind the building that would be stocked with ice by employees from the Poupore Lumber Company. The ice was used to keep certain goods fresh and what wasn't required was sold to residents for use in their own ice sheds. Eventually, the ice shed was replaced by an electric cooler, and later, a freezer.

Over time, the general store was providing necessities to all of the lumber camps in the Skead area with deliveries being made once per week.

In 1950, John Gordon retired as store manager at 80 years of age. He was replaced by Theresa (Labatte) Kennedy, a store employee. As manager, Kennedy was provided with a four-room apartment above the store at no charge (the apartment was considered part of her wages) and she earned more money than her husband did working at the mill. Theresa Kennedy stayed with the general store for five years before resigning in July of 1955.

Over time, the position of manager was undertaken by various individuals and the store continued to operate successfully for many years, even after the closure of the Poupore Lumber Company.

Sadly, in 1975, the general store was closed and subsequently torn down.


Material compiled from Skead, Ontario, Canada: 1924 - 1999.

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