St. Thomas is a city full of history. Today, we're excited to highlight some of our local businesses that have been in operation for over 50 years! These businesses have deep roots within our community, and we couldn’t be more proud. Below we have compiled a list of businesses from oldest to youngest, all of which are over 50 years of age!
1. Jennings Furniture & Design
Est. 1885 (137 years)
Did you know that Jenning’s Furniture and Design is Canada’s second oldest furniture store? Jennings long history in St. Thomas began in 1885, owned and operated by the Jennings family for four generations. In 2009, Jennings Furniture was purchased by Renée Carpenter, a former Jennings in-store designer.
Jennings is much more than just a furniture store. As a full-service design house, a diverse array of bed linens, mattresses, drapery, large art, area rugs, lighting and accessories can be found on all levels. Visual room inspirations abound throughout the showroom, providing current design ideas for the home. A growing segment of Jennings business is custom, designed to meet their customer's discretionary taste.
Visit Jennings and take in their incredible showroom, housed in the same heritage building where it started all of 137 years ago.
Address: 432 Talbot St.
2. Hammersley’s Fish & Chips
Est. 1935 (87 years)
Before only serving up fish n' chips, Hammersley's was also a fish market! It was once located at 644 Talbot, which is now the home of Your Fish & Chips. Hammersley's is currently located at 771 Talbot Street where they offer a variety of fish & chips options - halibut, sole & perch, along with daily specials.
Address: 771 Talbot St.
3. Berry Hill Limited
Est. 1946 (76 years)
Since 1946 Berry Hill Limited has been serving customers through Mail Order and Retail Sales across Canada and the world. From roots as an incubator sales company to the present day they have evolved into a well known source for many different and unique 'Country Living Products.' Find products for your home, hobby farm, country home or cottage. As a family owned business for over 70 years, family values are held high with their approach to customer service and sales. To give back to the community, Berry Hill also sponsors charities, sports, tournaments, fundraisers, and more.
Owner Ken says, “The length of time Berry Hill has been in operation has allowed us to build a unique connection. Generationally speaking people’s parents bought stuff in this store 40-50 years ago, now their kids and grandkids are buying things in our store.”
Berry Hill made the switch to online in the late 90s. They were fortunate enough to have been unknowingly prepared for COVID as their website was live and fully functioning. Ken has the mindset that there is no negative change. “You have to embrace change and be a part of it.”
Address: 75 Burwell Rd.
4. Canadale Nurseries
Est. 1955 (67 years)
In 1950, Bill Intven and his wife Joan sailed across the Atlantic with just $300 and a year’s supply of food and clothing for their growing family.
Once they arrived, Bill spent a year at McConnell Nurseries, the largest nursery in Canada at the time. He then took a factory job in St. Thomas to ensure a steady income for his family of seven. Bill spent his spare time in his back yard, propagating young plants in makeshift cold frames and preparing for the day when he would have his own farm.
After purchasing the McManus tobacco farm in 1955, Bill and Joan converted the space into the now well-known Canadale Nurseries. Stock was planted and retail sales began with Joan selling bare root privet hedging from a wheelbarrow along the highway. Out of respect for their newly adopted country, they decided on naming their business Canadale.
The Intven’s love of plants and their fervent desire to please their customers quickly ensured a loyal following of ardent gardeners, and grew over the years. Canadale grew as a family business, with multiple family members taking over various aspects of operations to this very day.
Address: 269 Sunset Drive
5. Your Fish N' Chips
Est. 1960 (62 years)
A family run business, the restaurant was purchased by the Snetselaar family in the 1960s and became Your Fish & Chips. They have been providing St. Thomas with fresh and delicious food ever since.
In the same location since the 1920s when it was Hammersley's Fish Market, the business has been run by the Snetselaars for many years, when it was purchased in the 1960s by Dutch-born Ryk and Johanna Snetselaar, at which time the name was changed to Your Fish & Chips. Ryk and Johanna brought to the table a combination of hard work and passion, not to mention the kind of fresh, delicious food people expect from a family-run business.
After running the business for decades, Ryk and Johanna passed it on to their son Bill and his wife Elizabeth Snetselaar. They owned it until 2004, when the next generation took over, placing Bill’s son Ryk (named after his grandfather) at the helm. Ryk and his family still proudly carry on the family tradition today.
Address: 644 Talbot St.
6. Chef Bondi Pizzeria
Est. 1964 (58 years)
Chef Bondi's story began under the ownership of Agostino (Gus) Bondi in 1964 and Phil DiLosa who joined in 1966. It wasn't easy to begin with, as St. Thomas was a "roast beef town" according to Phil, and people didn't really know what pizza was. Phil would stand in the window tossing dough to let people know what they were all about. The sauce is based on a recipe from Phil's Sicilian mother, and the restaurant prides itself on everything made from scratch.
In 2019, Chef Bondi employee Dylan Taylor purchased the business and his strategy has been to return the pizzeria to its roots. They sell two main pizzas: Chicago-style and original, both of which are popular. They bridge old and new by giving customers choices. Cheese on top or cheese on the bottom.
Address: 640 Talbot St.
7. Mugford's Shoes & Clothing
Est. 1965 (57 years)
Donald Mugford opened Mugford's Shoes & Clothing in 1965, and it is now run by his wife, Merle, and two daughters, Jodi and Patti. The team continues to be passionate about the family business and driving the mission forward. Mugford's provides fashion savvy shoes for women and men, plus women's clothing, handbags and accessories.
Address: 429 Talbot St.
8. Toth Jewellers
Est. 1967 (55 years)
Toth Jewellers has been a part of the community since 1967. Owned by Don and Theresa Toth, Toth Jewellers is a jewellery and watch store that offers repairs along with a large selection of diamonds, watches, engagement rings, wedding bands, and school rings.
Address: 559 Talbot St.
*Please remember these are businesses that fall under the scope of tourism, and that there are other local businesses that have also reached this impressive milestone!
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