When S.H. (Sam) Lawrence opened his jewellery and fancy goods store in 1907 he must have thought he was filling a market niche.

It seems likely Lawrence thought Salmon Arm residents needed a place to buy fine goods. He named his business the “Fancy Store.” It was located on Hudson St. next to the Alexandra Hotel. The two storey building had a one storey addition and there was a modern apartment on the second floor. Indoor plumbing was basic, water was hauled upstairs manually and disposal was a monitored pail under a sink. Users watched the pail carefully.

The store was clad in a dark metal that looked like chiseled stone. It was applied in sheets by a tinsmith. Luckily Salmon Arm had a tinsmith in the person of Mr. Matt Carroll, of Winnipeg.

Carroll had recently “put up” a store and was advertising his services. Carroll was also a plumber.

Lawrence was also placing ads in the Observer. The “Fancy Store” sold holiday goods, cigars, tobacco, jewellery and silverware. Rooms were rented above the shop for classrooms. The School Board Trustees needed extra space until their new school opened in 1908.

By 1909 S.H. Lawrence was in receivership. He was able to reopen the store, working as its manager, and having acquired a new business sense. Sales were cash only. Luckily for Lawrence, Albert Bedford was in town in the fall of 1909 looking for a place to open a pharmacy.

Bedford acquired Lawrence’s shop and moved into the apartment above the store. The family of four occupied the space until 1912, moving the pharmacy business to the Carroll Block on the corner of Alexander and Hudson. The Bedfords prospered and built a new home on Peters Street.

Opportunity knocked. Now there was a vacant building on Hudson.

In 1913 Frank Tillman and barber Ernest Demers partnered to open “the Club” Pool Room, in Lawrence’s old haunt. They also offered a nice easy shave, cigarettes and ice cream. The two partners posed for the camera outside their new business. Unfortunately the partnership did not last.

Tillman moved to Revelstoke to work as a big game guide. Demers married Margaret Goodnough, of Portland Oregon, quietly at the Methodist parsonage in 1914. War broke out.

Ernest Demers planned to enlist. The world and Salmon Arm were changing.

Today S.H. Lawrence’s building is a symmetrical two-storey structure. The tin cladding is long gone and the building is well cared for. The 112+ year old structure is currently home to two businesses: an antique shop and a barber shop. Demers’ barber sign has been replaced by a pole. There are two apartments on the second floor. Thankfully for the residents, the plumbing has been redone.

Lawrence’s Fancy Store building has an enduring presence on Hudson Ave. It is the inspiration for the first Bedford’s Pharmacy and a barbershop & pool room at R.J. Haney Heritage Village. Replicated tin cladding was found in Ontario, powder coated in Salmon Arm’s Industrial Park by QC Universal Coatings, and installed on two buildings at the Village by local contractor Wayne Peace. Luckily Peace had done this kind of work before in the Yukon working on heritage buildings there.

Come visit us at R.J. Haney Heritage Village and feel the magic of enduring heritage.