Cole’s Food Centre

A look back at Sylvan Lake grocery stores

Explore the town's past through this recollection, part of a year-long historical series presented by the Sylvan Lake Archives Society.

The following article and accompanying picture were submitted by the Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society as part of a series celebrating the society’s 20 years of existence this year. The Archives Society is open to the public every Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. at its new location in the lower level of the town’s Municipal Government Building.

Cole’s Food Centre

Jack Cole and brother LaVerne bought Tendersweet Meats in 1946 from Bert Woodrow of Red Deer and operated the business until 1948, when Jack took over as sole owner. In 1959, on the site of the former Pete’s Café, a new store was built under the name Cole’s Foods Ltd. This business was sold to Western Grocers in 1964 and Jack went with IGA as a meat merchandiser. The Western Grocers Group opened the store again under the name Red and White Store. The photo on this page shows Cole’s Food Centre, and to the left, what used to be the Magnet Store, owned by Joe Martin in the 1930s and 40s and sold to Jenkins Groceteria in 1948.

May & Turner Meat and Grocery Store

In 1946, Charlie Turner came to Sylvan Lake to join his brother-in-law, Jack May, in the meat cutting business. In 1949, Jack and Charlie bought the Rosse Store on Main Street and opened the May & Turner Meat and Grocery Store, which they operated until 1961 when the business was sold to Cobb’s Ltd. Charlie moved with the business and worked as the butcher at Cobb’s for many years. The old May & Turner building went through several identities, such as a second-hand store, Monte Keith’s Sylvan Lake News office and Betty Fisher’s beauty salon and wool shop before being demolished in 1978 to make way for the Red Rooster Store.

Shamrock Grocery Store & Shower Station

The Shamrock Grocery was a little gem in the cottage area. In the 1950s, Mary Newcombe owned the grocery store and tea room, which was located where the Sylvan Auto Spa is today. The store had one phone, which was kept busy by patrons and cottage owners. The store also offered showers — 35 cents a shower, including a towel! The tea room served freshly-made pies and muffins which were served on the porch set with tables and chairs. A memorable event in the tea room’s history was a wedding reception held there during World War II. The store was sold in 1955 to Rose Young, who operated it for many years and then sold in 1980. The building was torn down soon after. Those of you who knew Mrs. Young might remember that she owned a cottage by the name of Navlys — Sylvan spelled backwards!


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