By Megan Frost
Special to The Beacon
GLOVERTOWN, NL – The machine for plastic wrapping was just sold, and the day before, someone bought the meat saw.
Blackwood’s Limited is moving out inventory and equipment alike as co-owners Randy and Roy Blackwood prepare to close their small Gloverown grocery store. “The end is near,” a customer remarks as she enters the store, eyeing the half-bare shelves.
People have been saying it all week.
Brothers Randy and Roy are preparing to semi-retire. Running the supermarket takes a lot of time and it is not without stress. If something breaks down outside of work hours, they have to fix it.
“Retail is not easy. You have to babysit a business,” says Randy.
The brothers also run a dollar store and fabric shop located upstairs in the same building.
“Retailing is a world of difference from when we started,” comments Randy. “At that time, the town was full of stores, maybe 15 stores in Glovertown. Now towns have only one store and small towns have no stores left.
“A lot people shop out of town. That’s not unique to our area. But we always made a living. I can’t complain.”
The Blackwood family has made their living in retail for around 100 years. Randy and Roy’s grandfather, James Blackwood, diversified his sawmill business and opened the family’s first store sometime before 1920 in the centre of town.
By the 1950s James’s daughter Alice and son Fred were operating the store.
Later, Fred ventured out on his own and opened a store with his wife Hertha and their family at the current Blackwood’s location in 1971. This is the store taken over by his sons Randy and Roy in 1994.
Randy says people have been sad but understanding about the decision to close the store.
“It’s like a landmark” says Colleen Denty. “I’ll miss the friendly smiles and nice comments. You can pat yourselves on the back. You did a good job.”
Closing the store would be a sadder event if the late Fred Blackmore were still alive to see it go, said his wife, Hertha.
“You know, that’s all he ever knew all his life. He put so much into it.”
Working closely with family has been a good experience, says Randy.
“I don’t think it’s been too bad actually. Lots of times siblings can’t get along.” “We’re still here so that’s proof,” Roy adds.
Randy and Roy are planning to move some of their best-selling dry items upstairs to the dollar store, which is remaining open.
But don’t expect any of their popular chicken wings.
“No freezers,” says Randy “Nothing that can break down.”