"Jim Reith's General Store in Grand Valley was located on west side of Main Street about opposite the General Store of his younger brother, Jack Reith. Jim married a Bayne girl of Fergus, daughter of Fergus Postmaster. I don't remember any children. In Dufferin County you have lovely decorative plates that were given out at Christmas time from Jim Reith's store. Cake plates, I suppose. They were the size of dinner plates. On one side of main entrance was the grocery counter, on the other side was the dry goods counter with all kinds of yard goods. At the back were men's underwear, work clothing and men's suits and overcoats, and hats and caps and boots. Upstairs at back were women's clothing, dresses, suits and coats and shoes. But at the front, upstairs was the millinery. Even as a child, I seemed to know how important it was to have a new spring bonnet for Easter, although it was not often fit weather to wear it until Mother's Day. And of course, one had to have a new hat for grand Valley Fall Fair. Of course, everyone wore hats in those days, even children.
Jim Reith's store had a second entrance off Main Street, next door to south. That was the Hardware Department. They sold everything from nuts & bolts and wire to wire fencing, stones, washing machines and sent out men to install eavestroughing. There was an open archway between the two stores, about halfway back. At this location there was what I remember as the “Cashier's Cage”. Wires were strung a bit over head above the counters on the main floor. At various convenient locations, when a sale was made, the clerk could reach up, and unscrew a small cup from a little wheeled bracket that ran on the wires. The clerk enclosed the bill of sale and your money and re-attached the cup. A lever or spring was pulled and suddenly away went the cup to the office. In a moment or so the cup returned with the correct change. I also remember Santa Claus being at Jim Reith's store each Christmas, sitting in front of a make-shift fire place. But it looked real to me in the 1916-1920 years. Santa sat just about opposite the “Cashier's Cage”, where there was a wide passageway between the two stores.
Wonderful memories. Likely we went to town on the sleigh loaded with grain to be ground into cattle chop."
Written by Jean F Hutchison Fergus ca 1995
Pictured below is the JJ Reith collection, each piece is marked face or back with "Christmas Souvenir, James J Reith". It is believed these were produced ca. 1907 to 1920. In this gallery is the entire DCMA collection, if anyone has another example please contact our staff with a photo to assist with our continuing research.