Retail trends are always changing, and it seems like now we have come back to the idea of being able to buy everything in one store, from groceries to hardware to clothing. This was the kind of stores which first opened in Grande Prairie in the very early days. Ads from the newspapers show what a mix of merchandise and services were available in the local stores in 1913-1915. Remember that this was before the railway reached Grande Prairie, and everything had to be brought in by stage over the Edson Trail.
The three ads below show unusual services were available in some stores. While the watchmaker also being an Optician doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch, buying a hat and a Marriage License in the same store, or borrowing a book from the circulating library at the drug store do show the ingenuity of the merchants in providing as many services as they could in such a small town.
After looking through the early papers for these ads I became curious as to just what businesses were open. The first newspaper issued March 25, 1913 carried ads for the following: 2 hotels, 2 general stores, bakery, harness shop, 2 barber shops and an insurance agent. Not bad for a new settlement out in the boondocks!