Goodwin's Montreal Limited and from Goodwin's to Eaton's

Goodwin's Montreal Limited

Within five months of opening its new premises in May 1909, Carsley's sold its business to A. E. Rea & Company. The latter began construction of an extension that more than doubled the floor area. The store was known as Rea's until 1911 when, after W. H. Goodwin became managing director, it became Goodwin's Montreal Limited and then simply Goodwin's Limited.

The only known surviving Goodwin's catalogue is the one issued immediately after the restructuring of the company, i.e., Fall/Winter 1911-1912. As a successor to Carsley's, Goodwin's inherited the mail-order operation but overhauled it. While Carsley's catalogue was printed in large format on cheap paper with simple illustrations, Goodwin's was smaller in size and communicated elegance, from the tasteful green cover featuring an illustration of the store through the 112 pages with their fine line drawings. A French version was also available.

Goodwin's advised customers that shopping by mail cost little more while guaranteeing satisfaction. It promised them the best goods at the lowest prices, delivered free to the nearest town. Claiming to be the only department store in Canada to do so, it confirmed that "ALL goods listed in our catalogue are delivered free to your nearest Railroad Station anywhere in Canada." For orders sent by mail and worth more than 50 cents Goodwin's recommended customers pay an additional two cents to guarantee safe delivery. In the "event of any dissatisfaction whatsoever," the store guaranteed to exchange the merchandise or refund the customer's money and return shipping charges.

From Goodwin's to Eaton's

In 1925, the T. Eaton Company purchased the store and property. Over the next few years, Eaton's rebuilt the store, proceeding section by section so as to limit the disruption of business. When finished, the store stood six stories high; another three stories were added in 1930—31. Eaton's acquired Goodwin's to gain a foothold in Montréal and to establish distribution facilities for the largely French-speaking market of Quebec. Eaton's opened a mail-order showroom on Bleury and, three years later, a fully automated mail-order operation on Mont-Royal Avenue East. Intended to speed up processing and reduce costs, this new facility could not survive the rapidly declining sales during the early Depression and closed in 1931. Eaton's increased its visibility throughout Montréal and Quebec with the elegant store on St. Catherine Street and the French catalogue that was introduced in 1928.
by Alan M. Stewart

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