Shop-Easy Grocery

Although it is difficult to find a corner grocery store like this one nowadays, they once were a community staple.

The Shop-Easy Grocery store in Calder is a functional wood-framed single-storey building clad with brick and stucco. The art-deco style building features a flat roof, corner frontispiece with a single entrance door, and a wrap-around cantilevered canopy upon which rests the original signage. At one time it had large display windows. Aerial photos show that this store began as a rectangular building with a north-south profile in 1948. Sometime between 1954 and 1962, a square-shaped addition was attached to the west.

It is a simple, easy to forget, utilitarian building. The life that this building and local corner stores throughout Edmonton had, however, was central to the community. They were independent businesses, owned and operated by community members; the next generation of the general grocery stores from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These grocery stores were found where people were - at the corner of a well-travelled street and along streetcar lines - and as such were focal points for a community at a time when people were without cars and walked or took public transit. This was where people went almost daily for their meat, produce, and dry goods, tipping delivery boys to get their groceries safely to their homes; they gathered here to catch up with their neighbours; and kids ran to them with their pennies eager for salt-water taffy, a five-cent candy bar, or even a soda-pop if they were lucky. By the 1950s there were more than 100 of these corner stores throughout Edmonton. Lawrence Herzog notes that some even “went upscale and installed ornate soda fountains and long counters with stools that swiveled.” The proliferation of chain stores – the large supermarkets of the 1950s and the convenience stores of the 1960s – were the demise of the once common independent corner store.

Details

Type

Commercial

Designation Status

Municipal Historic Resource

Neighbourhood

Calder

Year Built

1948

Architects

Unknown

Architectural Styles

Art Deco influences

Character Defining Elements

Wooden strucutre , Brick cladding , Stucco cladding , Flat roof , Cantilever projections , Corner entrance , L shape footprint , One storey

Gallery

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