The Struggle of Specialty Shops

In Montreal in the 19th century, one of the most renowned hat and fur shops was the John Henderson Company.

Like other specialized shops during that period, this store sold luxury goods, which complemented the merchandise sold in the department stores. Due to competition, merchants had to rely on their distinctiveness and on the quality of their service to attract and retain customers. They also made great efforts to create tasteful displays in their stores and in the windows where they presented their products.

It was a great advantage, however, for shops that wanted to remain competitive to be located in a strategic area, near their competition. That is why many businesses, including the John Henderson Company, left Notre Dame and St. Jacques Streets at the end of the 19th century to set up shop on St. Catherine Street, which had become THE new commercial artery in Montreal.
McCord Museum of Canadian History

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