CHAMBERS’ CORNER: Ross Store ‘meant quality’

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Downtown Welland’s Ross Store in the 1960s, windows decorated for Christmas. (Supplied photo/Bob Chambers)

By Bob Chambers

This is Chambers’ Corner ….. the occasional occupant of a corner of this blog, where Bob Chambers, an Evening Tribune photographer from 1957 to 1970, will present some of his photographs from that era …… Readers are asked to please comment!

I’m still in awe about this view. Not that it’s a great photograph, but what it tells us now sixty years later. It was a time when names like: The Ross Company, Manners Camera store, Brit Phillips Shoes, Jimmy Marando’s Mens Wear, W. Clifford Healy Photography, Jantzi- Brown Motors, East Main Motors, Bowl O Rama, MacLean Motors, Harry Holcomb Shoes, The Blue Star, The Olympia, The Half Moon were well known local businesses …… Jeez, there must be a ton more.

Yes, “The Ross Store”, “The Ross Company”, “Ross’s” …. whatever you called it, it meant quality. A Harris Tweed sport coat, with leather elbow patches and cuffs that I bought there, lasted me well over 20 years.

Oh, about this photograph, Christmas season, mid-1960’s. Two exposures, not quite put together perfectly to make this panorama. Why didn’t I get shoppers on the sidewalk? Who knows. Maybe I shot it late at night to have less car traffic, so that standing on top of the traffic direction barricade, with cars roaring past on all sides at Main Street East and King Street, seemed much safer, well after rush hour.

Times have changed.

Bob Chambers, Tribune photographer 1957-1970

Your comments are invited and appreciated by the photographer/author.

Editor’s note: The Ross store had a long history in Welland.

Its origin goes back to 1878 when it operated as Bull and Ross, a chain of four dry-goods stores in small communities along the Welland Canal. David Ross (a town councillor, school trustee and three-term Welland mayor) purchased it and ran it as a family business. It was later purchased by George Sawle, who in 1945 sold out to a syndicate. The store became part of a 14-store chain that carried on business as the Ross Stores Co.

In his History of the City of Welland trilogy, the late historian William H. Lewis writes that business began to decline in the 1970s “and finally, after serving generations of Wellanders for 99 years, this landmark retail enterprise closed in 1977.”

(Chambers’ Corner is a popular, recurring feature on the blog.)

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2 thoughts on “CHAMBERS’ CORNER: Ross Store ‘meant quality’

  1. Ann Simunic

    Thanks Joe.
    Those were the days people had creativity and less consultants. Hopfully WElland will come back and see people downtown.its great to bring back what Welland had.-and still has a lot to offer—- maybe make it a little more modern

    Reply
  2. Frances

    I loved Ross store and the great theaters that we had .It’s great seeing those great picture of down town Welland. Thanks for the pictures on Chambers Corners let’s see more.

    Reply

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