beck’s home furniture
gifts & interiors
2 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 2
Beck’s Home Furniture Gifts
& Interiors a family affair
CHANTALE ANSEMS to furnish the store and the furniture.”
Special to the Graphic In some parts of the store, there are displays give
customers an idea what a piece of furniture might
When Barry Beck thought about opening up his look like in their own home.
own furniture store, he thought his wife’s business, The store, which is fully loaded with two large
Silhouette Plus, would compliment his business so floors of inventory, offers everything a shopper
they merged the two businesses into one. might want from home furnishing living room and
“I always felt it was a perfect match to put our dining room sets, dressers, fridges, stoves, and
products and Nancy’s products together,” said Mr more.
Beck.“It turned out way ahead of our expectations Accessories such as curtains, giftware, quilts,
plus she has a tremendous eye for decorating and framed prints, crystal are also available, along with
really good taste on buying which is evident with a bridal registry.
her product lines at Silhouette Plus.” The Beck’s son, Ryan, is also a vital part of the
In 1986, Ms Beck opened Silhouette Plus in the new business. He oversees Beck’s Island Oil Tanks
building located across from Somer’s Shoes on and Heating, formerly known as Stewart and Beck’s
Main Street in Montague. She was there for two Home Heating.
years before relocating to a building beside Stewart That part of the business specializes in oil tank
and Beck Ltd. installation, dryer vents, air conditioners, ventila-
“I also had a lace store at the (Montague) Train tion systems, oil stoves and furnaces, oil fired hot NOW ...
Station for three years, ‘Heritage Lace Showcase water heaters and electric hot water heaters, wood
Store’, but combined the two and moved to Beck’s stoves and wood furnaces.
Home Furniture Gifts and Interiors,” she said. “We Barry, Ryan’s father who has 30 years experience
use the accessories from the Silhouette Plus lines will continue to work in that department too.
Barry and Nancy Beck make a perfect match in life and in business. When Barry
thought of opening his own furniture he knew his wife’s store, Silhouette Plus,
would be the perfect compliment to his store.
3 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 3
For three days only!!!
with the purchase of
$1,500.00 or more
of furniture or bedding
Free Bell expressVu System*
Employees are busy preparing for the Grand Opening of Beck’s Home
Furniture Gifts and Interiors. Salesman Darryl Kerwin has been working
(*Appliance Purchases excluded)
with Barry Beck for 27 years. Also in the photo is Cindy Peters.
4 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 4
A new chapter for an historic building
CHANTALE ANSEMS the wharf then. I remember building. MacLean said. “Southern Kings this new business.”
Special to the Graphic when you could walk from one “I was down and looked at the Construction did some job on it.
side of the river to the other building pretty close,” Mr The town is very lucky to have
The re-opening of the Poole across the vessels that were
and Thompson building on the lined up to be loaded. That’s
Montague waterfront was not how many were there then,” he
only an emotional day for the said. “A few years after I had the
new owners, but it also stirred building, transportation to New-
up memories for some of the foundland went by road and
people who worked there many rail.”
years ago. “I sure hope they (Beck’s) do
“I have an awful soft spot in wonderful down there,” he
my heart for the place,” said added.
long-time Montague business- Mr Power eventually turned
man Dick MacLean, who worked his business over to his son,
in the Poole and Thompson David. Then about 12 years ago,
office in the 1950’s and 1960’s. the building once again changed
“It’s some building and it was hands when brothers George
wonderful the way it was built and Barry Beck bought it.
and it’s great to see it being used When the main building was
again,” Mr MacLean said. constructed, a side building was
In 1912, Mr MacLean’s grand- added for space to store coal but
father, Leith Poole, and his part- it was never finished.
ner, George Thompson, built the In 1962, Mr MacLean took
sprawling structure, located on ownership of that building and
the south side of the Montague finished construction. He then
River overlooking the water- used it to open his ready mix
front. and concrete block business.
“The lumber was supplied by “When I moved to Victoria
a Mr Martin from New Perth,” Cross, I sold the building to the
added Mr MacLean. (provincial) government who
The Martin’s owned a general used it as a salt shed until about
store situated on the same prop- 1970,” said Mr MacLean. This is what the Poole and Thompson Warehouse looked like while it
On May 20, 2002 Barry and
erty most recently known as
Clark's ’79 Ltd, on Montague’s Nancy Beck opened their busi- was being constructed on the Montague waterfront in 1913.
Main Street south. ness in the newly renovated Submitted photo
In 1930, after a fire destroyed
the original business, the Mar-
tin’s moved to the newly con-
structed building known as the
Poole and Thompson building.
The first floor of the building
was used to store potatoes,
which were loaded onto vessels
bound for Newfoundland. The
second floor provided space for
feed, flour, etc and there was
also a small office on the same
level. The main office and some
general merchandise including
horseshoes, shovels, and pitch-
forks were kept on the third
floor. The fourth floor was used
to build barrels required for
Mr MacLean worked in the
office in 1960 when Mr Poole’s
son Lewis A took over the busi-
The building was later sold to
George Brookins and then to
Emmett Power of Greenfield,
who owned Power’s Produce.
“I used to be a big (potato)
grower and I used the building
to store the potatoes,” Mr Power
said. “I had an office on the sec-
ond floor and the top two floors
had stuff stored that I needed
later on, like potato bags.”
One side of the Poole and Thompson Warehouse as it was being constructed.
“It used to be pretty busy on Submitted photo
5 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 5
Beck’s Home Furniture Gifts & Interiors is the newest addition to the beautiful
6 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 6
meet the staff....
rICK BECK, the eldest son of ryAN BECK of Cambridge, ALISA BECK, formerly of Pin-
Barry & Nancy, works in his son of owners Barry and Nancy ette, now lives in Cambridge
spare time as a furniture associ- Beck, started working at Stewart with her new husband, Ryan
ate. Rick lives in Montague with and Beck’s Ltd about 10 years Beck. Ms Beck has five years pre-
his wife Marcy and their three ago. He worked with Beck’s vious experience working with
daughters, Brittany, Ellie and Home Heating and now runs Nancy Beck at Silhouette Plus in
OWNEr NANCy BECK of Drea. Beck’s Island Oil Tanks and Heat- Montague, which is now a part
OWNEr BArry BECK of ing, which is a division of Beck’s of Beck’s Home Furniture Gifts
Brooklyn began working at his Brooklyn has been involved in
the customer service business Home Furniture Gifts and Interi- and Interiors. Ms Beck has edu-
father’s store, Stewart and Beck’s ors.Along with the installation of cation in interior design, which
Ltd while he was growing up for many years. She ran a bed
and breakfast for about 10 years oil tanks, Mr Beck also works gives her knowledge in the many
and still in school. He packed part-time assembling and deliv- facets of decorating. Ms Beck is
groceries, made deliveries, and before opening Silhouette Plus,
which is now located inside also a part of the sales team.
was a meat cutter and in 1972
became involved as a partner in Beck’s Home Furniture. Ms Beck
the business with his brother, said she is eager to see all her old
George. Since that time, he has customers as well as meeting
been involved in many aspects some new ones.
of the heating part of the busi-
ness and being one of the own-
ers, had a hand in all aspects of
the business including furniture
sales. He and his wife, Nancy
recently branched out on their
own and opened their own busi-
ness, Beck’s Home Furniture JEFF BECK of Brooklyn, son
Gifts and Interiors. of owners Barry and Nancy Beck,
started working at Stewart and
Beck’s Ltd when he was very
young. He now works alongside CINDy PETErS is the new-
his father and mother on a part- est addition to the Beck’s Home
time basis and works for an Furniture staff. She is from the
Internet company in Charlotte- 48 Road in Cardigan. Cindy was
town full-time. His duties include also a former employee for
selling and some delivery. Nancy at Silhouette Plus. NEIL MacDONALD of
Brudenell started working with
Beck’s Home Furniture Gifts and
Interiors earlier this year. Mr
MacDonald farmed all his life
and was willing to tackle any-
thing that came his way.Working
with machinery and doing some
repair work makes him a great
asset to the company, as he is
able to assemble and repair fur-
niture. Mr MacDonald also does
DArryL KErWIN of BILL yOUNG has been a resi-
Brudenell has more than 25 dent of Montague for the past 15
years experience with Stewart or so years. He was the manager
and Beck’s Ltd. Over the years, at the Bank of Nova Scotia until
Mr Kerwin held numerous jobs his retirement. When the new
including meat cutter, deliveries furniture store was created, a
and selling hardware. He is now part-time bookkeeper was need- STEPHEN MACrAE of
the furniture manager at Beck’s ed and Mr Young’s name came Alberry Plains has been an
Home Furniture and is excited to mind. He was hired and is employee of Stewart and Beck’s
about seeing former and new now a full-time/part-time Ltd for more than 10 years. He is
customers. employee. His background and currently involved in the selling
familiarity with understanding aspect of the new Beck’s Home
numbers makes him a valuable Furniture store as well as furni-
asset to the company. ture delivery and assembly.
7 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 7
the next generation
The new store allows for plenty of selection. Check
out the impressive leather furniture display
Granddaughters Ellie and Brittany share some quiet time at the new store with Poppy and Nanny
(Barry & Nancy Beck)
Nancy Beck is ready to help find the perfect for you or a friend. Beck’s Home Furniture is overflowing
with great gift ideas.
8 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 8
A new life for Poole and Thompson building
After sitting for years virtually unused, the former Poole
and Thompson building was resurrected recently giving it
new life and giving the residents of Kings County a new
location to shop.
On Monday, May 20, 2002 owners Barry and Nancy Beck
opened Beck’s Home Furniture Gifts & Interiors hundreds
of thousands of dollars were put into renovating the his-
“We had a great opening day,” said Mr Beck. “Like our-
selves, it’s like a ‘wow factor’ expression from most of the
customers who came in today. Some who had worked here
years ago were quite emotional to see the building fully
Before venturing out on his own, Mr Beck and his broth-
er, George, were partners in Stewart & Beck Ltd located on
Main Street, Montague, which had originally been owned
by Ethan Stewart and their father, Cecil Beck.
In 1972, Barry and George bought the business from Mr
“We always looked for ways to change and improve the
business and over the past five years, we started thinking
about the next generation,” Barry said. “We considered
pulling the business apart a number of times but were
advised not to so we just kept it in the back of our
“Finally, we decided to take another look at it and we
talked to some people at Home Hardware who have access
to a number of home furniture stores, their varying sizes of
operations, and we accessed that information and found
that other people were making a living (at a furniture
based business) so we began to look at the possibility of
building another store or to use this building (Poole and
About 12 years ago, the Beck’s purchased the Poole and
Thompson building from Emmett Power who owned
Power’s Produce and for the past eight or so years, the
building was opened to the public for their annual Victoria The former Poole and Thompson building has sat on the Montague waterfront
Day sale. since its construction in 1913. Over the years it’s been home to many different
“The building was mainly used as a warehouse and we
were able to maintain it - it was kept in reasonably good businesses the building recently got a new lease on life when it was renovated by
condition,” Barry said. Barry and Nancy Beck when they opened Beck’s Home Furniture Gifts & Interi-
“We got into the feasibility of the numbers and we
thought, yes, we can do this.” ors.
After many successful and enjoyable years as partners,
the Beck brothers decided to expand. To serve residents of
PEI better they envisioned 2 stores with more services and
selection - and that is how Beck’s Home Furniture - Gifts &
Interiors came to be.
Both Stewart & Beck Ltd. and Beck’s Home Furniture will
continue to grow and serve their communities.
So Barry and George Beck decided to branch out. Barry
would take the furniture and home heating part and
George would keep the hardware part.
The next step was renovating the Poole and Thompson
building - the work started in February.
“Today is historically the largest day of sales for the year,”
Barry said. “We will be having our Grand Opening July 4
with some really red hot deals and we will also be recog-
nizing some people in the community who literally lived
9 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 9
Join Barry, Nancy and
the Staff Thursday,
at 6 pm
for their Grand
Congratulations Interior Decorator Alisa Beck was busy getting things ready for the opening of
Becks Home Furniture Gifts & Interiors, which opened May 20. The store will
celebrate its grand opening on July 4 and Mrs Beck will be on staff to consult with
on your Grand Opening!
We’re pleased to provide your site preparation. customers and answer their home decorating questions.
All The Best From Harry & The Crew at
5284 A.A. MacDonald Highway, 838-2191
Brudenell, P.E.I. Fax: 838-4051
10 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 10
Last minute details were tended to before opening day of a new furniture and
accessories store in Montague. Lester Stubbert, a carpenter and electrician, was
putting up hanging baskets on the former Poole and Thompson building, which
was recently renovated to house the new store.
11 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 11
This is just one of the beautiful new showrooms at Beck’s Furniture Gifts & Interiors.
The store offers two floors of furniture and appliances, perfect for every room in your
One of the businesses at Beck’s Home
Furniture Gifts & Interiors is Beck’s Island
Oil Tanks and Heating, formerly known as
Stewart and Beck’s Home Heating – spe-
cializing in home comfort for over 40
years. ryan Beck is the son of Barry and
Nancy, and he will join in the grand open-
ing celebration on July 4.
12 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 12
Tall Ships, Coal Carts, and Busy Days
DONNA J MacArTHUr First, they’d have to break be doing such work.
Special to the Graphic up the larger chunks with “It was a hard job for those
picks, and then the men men down below,” he said.
Jack McGuigan, 71, now would shovel 200-300 pounds “My job was easier because
retired and living in Char- of coal into huge tubs which, the horse did most of the
lottetown, was a young boy were lowered down into the work.”
living in Montague, in the hatches. The coal-filled tubs Some ships would come
early 1940s, when wind-pow- were lifted up from the hatch- ‘empty’ of cargo, but full of
ered schooners regularly es using a block and tackle ballast of granite rocks. The
sailed into the busy Poole & apparatus, Mr McGuigan said. tons of ballast, which were
Thompson wharf with their “It was my job to hook onto necessary to stabilize the
hatches filled with coal. the block and tackle rope and ships,“so the waves wouldn’t
The ships sailed out of haul the tubs up with a horse. throw them around,” were
Newfoundland, and Mr Sometimes, if the horse went very popular with the locals,
McGuigan suggests they may ahead one or two steps too Mr McGuigan said.
have picked up their cargos far, the old fellas would be The workers would unload
of coal in Sydney, Nova Sco- cursing at me,” he recalled the ballast, and people came
tia. chuckling. from all around to get loads
“It was quite a sight - three, “Because the boom wasn’t of the smooth, gray and white
sometimes four big schoo- very stable, the motion and rocks.
ners, all under sail, would the heavy weight of the tubs Continued on next page
come into Montague at one would almost upset the high-
time,” he recalled, “and they wheeled
all had to be unloaded manu- d u m p
ally.” carts, so
When Mr McGuigan was you’d try
about 10-years-old he’d often to dump
Jack MacGuigan, now 71 lives in Charlotte- go down to the busy wharf the tubs
town and he vividly remembers the busy days on when the schooners came in quickly,”
and he usually found a job. he said,
the Montague waterfront when the Poole and “In order to unload the coal, d i s m i s s -
Thompson was a hub of activity. Wind-powered two or three men would go ing the
schooners regularly sailed into the busy Poole & down into the hatches of the fact that
Thompson wharf with their hatches filled with ship. Each ship had two he was
hatches, one forward and one q u i t e
coal. in the rear,” he explained. young to
13 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 13
From previous page and it burned longer than wood,” Mr McGuigan said. And most travelling was done through the fields
“They were really shiny, and their average size was There were different kinds of coal - hard coal, soft (because the roads were too deep with snow), or on
about the size of a football. People used them in coal, coke and briquettes. And each type was stored the rivers.
cement walkways, or to border their gardens,” he in separate bins in different sheds. “The Montague River was ‘bushed,” Mr McGuigan
said. When he was 14,and in Grade eight,Jack McGuigan said, explaining that a safe route was marked by par-
On their return trip the schooners would be laden quit school and went to work. tially sinking bushes or small spruce trees in the ice,
with potatoes, turnips and other Island produce. “It wasn’t a case of having to quit school, my away from the path of the river’s current.
Also, livestock, including horses, cattle, pigs, hens mother was always at me to go to school,” he said. “So many people traveled that way it was neces-
and chickens became part of the cargo on the ships “But a lot of boys back then would rather be out sary to have a marked road,” he said, noting that the
as they left again for Newfoundland. working than stay in school. Jobs weren’t hard to river would be frozen for at least three full months
The coal was stored in Poole & Thompson’s large find - I picked potatoes for 50 cents a day when I of the year. He doesn’t recall any coal-laden sleighs
sheds on the wharf, from where it was delivered to wasn’t hauling coal. The harder you worked the going through the ice, but he attributed that to the
the company’s customers for heating fuel. more money you made,” he said. When I worked for horse’s ability to judge whether or not the ice was
“Most people burned coal because it was efficient Poole & Thompson I worked 10 ∏ -hour days, six safe.
days a week. “I used to deliver a lot of coal to Georgetown, and
“Your day started at 7:30am. You’d get your cart it was much faster going on the river than it was by
loaded up, either straight off the ships, if there hap- way of the road at other times of the year,”
pened to be some in, or else from the sheds. Then Mr McGuigan said.
you’d go to the scales and get your load weighed. When arriving at the customers’ houses, the coal
Each load had to be between 1,800 and 2,000 was dumped into cellar hatches.
pounds.The men at the scales would tell you where “Our orders were usually C.O.D., and if people
to take your order,” he said. weren’t home or didn’t have the money to pay for
“Sometimes it would be a short haul; sometimes a their load of coal, then we had to bring it back.“You
long haul, but you got paid the same amount of hated to do that,” Mr McGuigan admitted.“Back then
money for each trip. I remember hauling for 35 you knew everyone, and it would be heartbreaking,
cents a load. But one week I earned $44 and I knowing they needed the coal, especially if there
thought I’d struck gold!” were children in the house. But that’s what we had
Fall was the busiest time of the year for coal deliv- to do.”
eries, Mr McGuigan said, adding that most of the He said Poole & Thompson did a tremendous busi-
roads in the area were unpaved, with the exception ness in those days.
of Main Street, in Montague, which had a cement “When I worked there the company was run by
surface. Lou and Herb Poole. Besides importing coal and
“Getting up that Wood Island’s Hill with a load on exporting produce and livestock, they operated a
was no easy feat. I used to have a small horse on my hardware/general store, selling everything from gro-
cart, and I’d get half way up that hill, and back into a ceries to horseshoes and paint. “There would be
driveway to let my horse get his wind, and then go 20-25 men employed there full time,” Mr McGuigan
It was even worse, he said, during a spring thaw, or “It was a hard life in those days, but a good life.
after heavy rains. People were happy just to get, by nobody was reach-
“I remember passing loaded carts stuck in a foot ing for anything big. You’d be excited just to get a
or more of mud.” new pair of boots. I don’t think people could settle
In winter, coal was delivered by horse and sleigh. for that nowadays.
Day or Night.. We’re LightiNg your Way!
We’re pleased to have supplied
your electrical needs ~
We wish you every success!
amac ELEcTRIc (Alan MacDonald)
☎ 583-2416 894-8414 Cellular 969-7096
14 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 14
of what we have
Bedding ... King, Queen, Double, Single - Beck’s Home Furniture has everything you need.
Beck’s Home Furniture offers one of the largest selections of furniture and accessories on PEI.
Stop in and ask about our deferred payment plan.
If you’re planning a wedding be sure to
check out our FrEE bridal and gift registry.
A new addition to the stock is the area rug col- It takes the guess work out of shopping, plus
lection. Stop in today and choose the perfect the bride receives a free gift when they regis-
style and pattern for your home. ter.
15 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 15
nothing trivial ....
Did you know?
•That 80 gallons of Home Hardware paint was used on the ceiling
of the second story.
•A total of 11, 600 square feet of shingles were put on the side wall.
•It took 5,400 square feet of asphalt shingles for the roof.
•A total of 10,300 square feet of drywall were used in the renova-
•A total of 22,000 lineal feet of assorted spruce lumber were used
for various parts of the store.
•A total of 3,500 lineal feet of assorted pine boards were needed
for the project.
•A total of 19,000 lineal feet were used on the plank floor.
•A total of 15,000 square feet of assorted plywood were used in the
•A total 17,000 square feet of fibreglass insulation will keep cus-
tomers and employees warm this winter.
16 beck’s home furniture gifts & interiors 16