Stock Book from 1957 was taken out of its binding and put into an acid-free folder as it was rusted and dirty.
History / Biography
Born in Tara, Bruce County Ontario in 1888, John Hewitt Robertson opened Robertson Variety Store in the Cunningham Block on Elgin Street in Arnprior on June 7, 1924. On July 1st, 1928, the business was moved to the larger Gardiner Block on John Street (presently the Dollar Store), and in 1932 it moved into its present location, 137 John Street, in the Moir Block on John Street. The variety store sold a wide range of hardware, toys, apparel, toiletries, fishing tackle and other small items. The move and expansion to its present day location allowed for the addition of a waiting room on the spacious second floor. An article in the Arnprior Chronicle detailed the new addition: "On the second floor, also, is a new shoppers’ convenience – a ladies waiting room, a large room at the front of the building with several windows overlooking John Street, well-lighted, commodious, with comfortable and attractive furniture and appointments and of a sufficient size to permit a large number of ladies to await in comfort the arrival of other friends, or the time when their menfolk have finished shopping." This room became a place for friends to gather while running errands.
Four generations of Robertson's were involved in the operation of the store. J. H. Robertson married Bertha A. Siegrist in 1912 and they had one son, Gordon Robertson, who grew up working in the store. Following high school, Gordon served for 2.5 years in the Tank Corps of the Armed forces. When he was discharged in August of 1945 he returned to Arnprior to work with his father.J. H. Robertson passed away on March 30, 1949 after being struck by a train, leaving the business to his son.
In 1958, Gordon decided to take the business in a new direction: household furniture and appliances. He ran the store as a branch of Adams Furniture for ten years and changed over to Imperial Furniture in 1968. Gordon Robertson was active in the community in addition to running the business. He was president and treasurer of the Businessmen's Association in the late forties and early fifties, member of the original Chamber of Commerce, and he served on council in 1949 and 1950. He worked with juvenile hockey for the Optimist Club, and was a member of the Lions Club. He married Leona Mallory in May of 1944. They had three children - sons John and Bruce and daughter Roxanna.
After university and some years abroad, John Robertson joined the family business with his wife, Karen. They streamlined the store's offerings in the late 1900s to sell mainly sleep and sofa products, celebrating the store's 75th anniversary in 1999. Their two sons, John and Tyler, both worked in the store on weekends and summer holidays. Gordon Robertson passed away in 2016 at the age of 94. A year later, John and Karen sold the business to Paul Perrault, who made extensive renovations and changed its name to Under my Roof. On September 30th 2017, Deputy Mayor Tom Burnette cut the red ribbon in a ceremony on its opening day. Under My Roof is still operating there as of 2023.
John and Karen Robertson
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of textual material pertaining to the business operations of Robertson's Furniture as well as miscellaneous material relating to the Town of Arnprior and lumbering history. Items in this small fonds are as follows:
3) "Simplified Account Rediform Ledger" Account and Receipts Book 1957-1960 [F19.2]
4) Notebook: Insurance Due Dates 1948-1950
5) Payroll books (CLOSED):
6) Financial Statements
7) Ledger: Arnprior Stock Book 1967-1968
8) Notebook: Ladies Wear. Contains quantities and prices of ladies' wear, dresses, children's wear, plastic and flatware and wool.
9) Folder of newspaper clippings of and receipts for advertisements taken out in the Arnprior Chronicle, the Arnprior Guide, local radio stations, ADHS yearbooks and telephone directories.
10) Mortgage document, Instrument number 120188 for the store at Lot No. 4, John Street dated 30 November 1971. A letter is attached to the document from Arthur A. McLean, lawyer, detailing legal services rendered and accounts to be paid in relation to the mortgage.
11) Notice of Application by the Corporation of the Town of Arnprior for the approval of a by-law imposing special rates for parking lot purposes. Contains a plan of the building on John street, its surrounding buildings, as well as an excerpt of the 1974 business tax assessment roll for the street affected.
12) Miscellaneous material:
Ottawa Citizen 1954 Centennial edition focused on Lumbering
Postcard depicting the weir at the Madawaska bridge
Pamphlet: "Downtown Arnprior Welcomes You", showing a map and a list of local businesses
Poster for Arnprior's 14th Annual Salute to the Valley event, July 1994
Payroll documents are restricted for 100 years from the date of the document.