Photo: Exterior of Stewart’s during the early years.
Recorded audio interview with Corey Sharpe completed by Terra Barrett with the Heritage NL.
Corey Sharpe: I used to go see George from time to time and he’d tell me some stories and I would have a few questions for him. I know the early, early beginnings of Stewart’s. They were set up, they were one of, his father Colin was one of the first people to set up on Main Street. He actually set up in a canvas tent and he would cater to the trains and the early workers. I know from a picture the sign on the tent said, “Stewart’s home of good drinks”. He would have mugs hung up inside and I think his wife, Bertha, would be working there. The people would come over from the trains. They would get tobacco pipes, a snack or whatever. He would serve them or she would serve them mugs of whatever drink. Up hanging on canvas signs overhead from the counter would be all the drinks and the prices and whatnot. So that was the humble beginnings of Stewart’s. Stewart’s operated for a hundred years with two owners. Colin Stewart and his son took it over in the late ’40s – George did. George said that Stewart’s was the first self-serve grocery store in Newfoundland according to him.
Terra Barrett: And that means getting your own groceries, do you mean?
Corey Sharpe: Yeah where you could walk in and not walk up to the counter and give the clerk your order. I guess you could go around and pick up what you wanted. He had a little advantage there in that he would order stuff by the carload, the train carload. So I guess he would get a deal on stuff and he’d order in a full carload of whatever. He had a pretty good set up there and he was quite successful. Also had a delivery service which was a plus.