Store that carried ‘a little bit of everything’ closes after half a century
After more than 50 years in business, Hudson’s Convenience in Pinware has closed.
Tough economic times forced Elsie Hudson to shut the doors of her store at the end of December. Her father-in-law, James Hudson, had started the business in the early 1960s.
Dean Hudson’s son Owen stands in front of Hudson’s Convenience, which closed down last month after being a staple in Pinware for almost 50 years. — Photos courtesy of Dean Hudson
It began life as “Hudson’s Store” in a small section of James’ house. Soon after, he moved it to a separate building where his restaurant was located, and eventually built a new premises in 1978, which stands today.
Elsie Hudson said Corner Brook businessman Ed Casey helped James get the business off the ground. Casey would visit Pinware to salmon fish, and he helped James source dry goods and other products.
Elsie started working at the store in 1975. After “Mr. Hudson” died in 2000, she took it over and changed the name to Hudson’s Convenience.
“A little bit of everything” was the motto on the store’s logo, as it stocked everything from dry goods to beer and cigarettes, and offered a gas station.
Elsie was understandably sad to see it go.
“When Mr. Hudson had it, he had his customers and he had his stuff come in in the fall and he’d have it all come in on the boat,” she recalls.
“He had his basement and that’d be packed full with vegetables and everything else for the winter. And then he didn’t have to pay for it when he got it — we paid as we sold it. But now things are way different. I had freight come in one week and in two weeks it had to be paid for. Regardless if I had that sold out or not, I had to come up with the money to pay the wholesalers.”
Elsie’s son, Dean Hudson, has worked at the store for 25 years. He and his mother were the main employees.
He said a dwindling population and the ease of transportation spelled the demise of the small convenience store.
“When my grandfather owned it, everybody in Pinware shopped in Pinware,” he said.
“I’d say he was the only guy in Pinware who went to Corner Brook. He took orders from people, he went to Corner Brook, he picked it up, he’d bring it back and they’d buy it there. But the people now are on the go too much. Corner Brook is only a weekend ride for people now.
“And there were probably 350 people in Pinware at the time when he had it, and right now there’s less than 100.”
More options for shopping and shrinking populations are making it difficult for many small businesses to thrive in rural communities.
Hudson’s Convenience closing is one more sign of the times.
The Northern Pen