A surplus store in Memramcook, N.B., that was a popular stop for people across the Maritimes, is closing its doors for good after more than seven decades in business.
It’s a bittersweet farewell, but one that the store’s owner Stella-Marie Landry said she is ready for.
“It is time — it is overdue,” said Landry.
Landry said that her father and uncle started the surplus store in 1946 after the Second World War. She and her husband Paul Landry bought the store from the family in the mid-’70s. The store was located in Moncton for a time before being moved back to Memramcook in the mid-1980s.
“We had a lot of people from Nova Scotia and P.E.I.,” Landry said. “We were busy for a while but after my husband died, I stopped buying from the government.”
She said that her husband has been gone for 12 years now, and at the age of 79 she is finally ready to stand down from behind the counter.
Charline Cormier, Landry’s daughter, said saying goodbye to the place where she spent much of her childhood won’t be easy.
“It will be an emotional day. We grew up here and we had lots of fun,” said Cormier who recalled years playing amid the plethora of army gear and clothing housed in the store.
The family store was once the go-to place for people to buy up surplus military supplies, hunting gear and even obscure items like a bazooka that Landry said hung on the wall for years.
“Last week two or three people said ‘oh I remember I was only this high coming with my dad,'” she said.
The surplus store was also a popular stopover for people on route to Halifax before the Trans-Canada Highway was built said Landry, noting that times have changed since then.
“When it is not busy it is lonely here,” she said, suggesting people don’t shop there like they used to, preferring to buy hunting gear at big box stores and online.
But Landry said she will hang on to the memories and is grateful for all the customers who have supported the business for so many years.
Most of the dated gear has now been sold to collectors and museums, but there are still some odds and ends left in the store that will be sold off before the store closes for good at the end of May.
“It is going to be sad to see it go,” said Cormier who believes that the developer who purchased the property from the family plans to tear down the building.