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Home Pt. 2: Bills Corner Grocery
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Next in my series from my visit to my hometown of Sussex (I'm happily back in Fredericton now) is a place that was very familiar to me. Just down the street from the mini home I lived in for quite a few years and also near other places I've lived in the past is a place now known as Bill's Corner Grocery.
When I was a kid, this place was called Mac's Grocery. It was owned by the post-master for Sussex Corner whom I will talk about further down. After CanadaPost decreed that mail service is no longer allowed in convenience stores, he sold the store and opened a post office next door. It was then bought by a person who's name I have forgotten who built clocks. The store stayed pretty much the same except the post office area was replaced with a clock display and the store was renamed to Sussex Corner Convenience. He sold it after a couple years to Bill who has owned it since.
This is the front of the store. A few things have changed, the sign is different, no longer a big 7-Up sign with the name of the store below it, it is now a Rite Stop. The trim is also green instead of red (I think this was done before I moved though).
The house beside is has sadly been covered in vinyl siding. It used to be quite an attractive house (it did need a paint job though).
Bike repairs are now done in the back. Apparently my brother has been doing a bit of work there.
The store has changed quite a bit inside. The old hardwood floors have been refinished which looks a lot better. The shelves are now lower and there are new signs. It looks cleaner but I don't like it as much.
A back room has been opened up to allow for videos. I see DVDs are now rented which is quite a leap from the last time I was there.
Quite a few years ago, when Mac sold the store to open the new post office, he bought this house, covered it in vinyl siding (a favourite past-time for Sussexers) and opened the bottom floor to a post office. Nobody liked the new post office because it required a key and the personal touch was lost. When it was in the store, you went to the back of the room and said hi to Mac. He would say hi back and you would proceed to talk about the weather while he pulled the mail out of your cubby and gave it to you. You would say goodbye and part ways (and probably buy 2 litres of milk and a chocolate bar). This is all gone now probably much to do with security and because post offices are no longer allowed in stores (probably because it was unfair competition which does makes sense). People who have lived in the village for years still go to the other room to have a chat with Mac when they get their mail though. Some things never go away.
Next in the series: Norads/Red Line.
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EvilGentleman: 27th Jun 2006 - 00:38 GMT
Sorry to disagree, Chris, but post offices are still allowed in stores. Most Arctic communities have their Canada Post franchises located within general stores. When I first moved to Coral Harbour, Nunavut in 1992, the post office was located in a stand-alone building that was in danger of falling down. By the end of the year, the Coral Harbour Co-op finished building their new store, which also included a post office. I later worked there as the postmaster. As far as I know, the post office is still there.
My hometown of Kahnawake has its post office located in its own premises in a business complex across the hall from the local credit union.
My current post office here in Dorval is located in the back of the Exstase gift shop at the Dorval Gardens Shopping Center a few blocks from here. Although my mail is tossed through the mail slot in my front door, I have to go to the gift shop to pick up parcels or registered mail, if I was not home when the mailman passed by. I also go there to weigh and send my parcels.
Chris Erb: 27th Jun 2006 - 01:16 GMT
Hmmm, that throws a wrench in eeverything. I just remember being told that they were moving because he wasn't allowed to have the post office in the store anymore. Maybe the owner of the store isn't allowed to be the postmaster too so he gave up the store to keep the post office. That seems like a reasonable explanation.
Next time I'm in Sussex, I'll talk to the post master and see what he says about it. I'm assuming he's still around so he'll be able to tell me exactly what happened.
Rumours fly around and change so fast in that town you never know what to believe.
EvilGentleman: 27th Jun 2006 - 02:07 GMT
Maybe there is some product that was being sold in the store that is not compatible with owning a Canada Post franchise, or perhaps there was some structural, security or square footage issue with the original store that caused the building to be deemed unsuitable for a franchise.
As far as being able to own both a postal franchise and a business, I doubt that would be a problem. I used to supervise a staff of 20 store workers (although usually no more than 12 of them were working at once) from behind the counter of the Post Office.
You never know, though. It could have been something as simple as the expiration of a contract, or some silly little rule that Canada Post changed that made his original store unsuitable. Or maybe he just got tired of dealing with the store, but really liked the Post Office.
Whatever the reason, it would be quite interesting to hear the real story. I admit, I am both intrigued and puzzled. Nice post, by the way. And the pun in the previous sentence was not intentional, but it seems to fit.
Chris Erb: 28th Jun 2006 - 03:09 GMT
Any explanation seems to fit. I'll make sure I find out either next time I'm in Sussex or I'll get my mom to find out for me next time I'm talking to her.
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