Belbin's co-founder dies

James
James McLeod
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Started grocery store in 1940s on Quidi Vidi road

Edgar Belbin, who along with his father founded Belbin's Grocery on Quidi Vidi Road died this week.

He was 88-years-old.

For 43 years, Edgar managed the store alongside his brothers Douglas and Fraser, until the trio sold it to the next generation of Belbins in 1986.

Photo at left, (from left) Brothers and grocery store founders Douglas, Edgar and Fraser Belbin at a store Christmas party in the 1970s. Belbin's Grocery is now run by Douglas's son, Chris Belbin, and Edgar's son, Robert Belbin. Photo at right, Edgar Belb

Edgar Belbin, who along with his father founded Belbin's Grocery on Quidi Vidi Road died this week.

He was 88-years-old.

For 43 years, Edgar managed the store alongside his brothers Douglas and Fraser, until the trio sold it to the next generation of Belbins in 1986.

"Belbin's is the only store to survive the big supermarkets, the only grocery store," said Robert Belbin, Edgar's son who operates the store. "Our direction is still the same as what dad and them carved out in 1943."

The store was started by Edgar and his father, Robert George Belbin in the mid-1940s.

Up until then Edgar had worked for the railway claims department, and his father had worked for Ayre & Sons managing their grocery department.

"Grandfather was the manager of the grocery department, but he was coming down with a serious case of rheumatoid arthritis to the point where he couldn't really report to work," Robert said. "Out of necessity Dad, with his energy and Grandfather, with his experience, they teamed up."

They gutted the front room of the family house on Quidi Vidi Road and open up Belbin's Grocery where it still sits today.

"There was no super plan, it was just hard work and dedication," Robert said.

"He came home tired every day, but he worked - he did a good job and he laid a good foundation - and we're still there today."

Shortly after the store opened, Robert Belbin Sr. died, and his three sons partnered to run it until they retired in 1986.

The store was sold to Edgar's two sons, Robert and Peter, and their cousin Chris, who was Douglas' son.

After that Edgar still regularly helped out at the store, often coming in to work the cash register.

He also dedicated plenty of time to his garden at his home in St. Philip's.

"I'm not sure Dad's mix of work time and recreation time was very good for the first part of his life - he worked a lot," Robert said. "Especially as he retired he loved his garden, he loved his family."

Edgar is survived by his wife of 61 years, Shirley.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Ayre & Sons

Geographic location: Quidi Vidi Road

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Recent comments

  • St. John's Girl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Mr. and Mrs. Belbin are long time friends of my family. We are very saddened to hear of his passing and pass our condolences on to Mrs. Belbin and their family.

  • CFA in Ontario
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    I visit Belbin's store whenever I am in St. John's. I have also ordered food and gifts over the phone to be delivered to to a sick relative in St John's several times using a credit card. An amazing service!! Belbin's has never let me down. I love that store.

  • wayne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Bravo to the Belbins. Their shop has a great selection, good prices and above all SERVICE with a smile. Their selection of take home meals is second to none.

    Rest in peace Mr. Belbin....you did a good job.

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I only shop at Belbin's and it's because of the interesting selection and good service. I also regularly buy some Dinner's Ready meals as they are really great and convenient for those times when you don't have time. Congratulations Edgar on a good life. Condolences to family and friends.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I remember the store well. I was a resident of Queen's College on Forest Road for many years. I loved to drop into the store just for a look at what my family might have been enjoying back home in Corner Brook. I was later in a position to observe the home service which Belbin's provided to many clients who lived in the area. One client , I remember, called to order a prime beef for dinner - asked the staff to pop it in the oven and by the way, I forgot to take the mail with me, could he also do a deposit. . Good memories with good service which is hard to repeat in this era. Well done Belbin's.

  • Frank M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    My condolences to the family.

    Belbin's has always been and remains a grocery store with an emphasis on personal service and customer care.

    An enterprise we can be proud of.

  • Francis
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Hard work , dedication and change. A good example of how a small business can survive. I remember this store as a kid in the seventies and still visit when I go home. God bless.

  • St. John's Girl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Mr. and Mrs. Belbin are long time friends of my family. We are very saddened to hear of his passing and pass our condolences on to Mrs. Belbin and their family.

  • CFA in Ontario
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    I visit Belbin's store whenever I am in St. John's. I have also ordered food and gifts over the phone to be delivered to to a sick relative in St John's several times using a credit card. An amazing service!! Belbin's has never let me down. I love that store.

  • wayne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Bravo to the Belbins. Their shop has a great selection, good prices and above all SERVICE with a smile. Their selection of take home meals is second to none.

    Rest in peace Mr. Belbin....you did a good job.

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    I only shop at Belbin's and it's because of the interesting selection and good service. I also regularly buy some Dinner's Ready meals as they are really great and convenient for those times when you don't have time. Congratulations Edgar on a good life. Condolences to family and friends.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    I remember the store well. I was a resident of Queen's College on Forest Road for many years. I loved to drop into the store just for a look at what my family might have been enjoying back home in Corner Brook. I was later in a position to observe the home service which Belbin's provided to many clients who lived in the area. One client , I remember, called to order a prime beef for dinner - asked the staff to pop it in the oven and by the way, I forgot to take the mail with me, could he also do a deposit. . Good memories with good service which is hard to repeat in this era. Well done Belbin's.

  • Frank M
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    My condolences to the family.

    Belbin's has always been and remains a grocery store with an emphasis on personal service and customer care.

    An enterprise we can be proud of.

  • Francis
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Hard work , dedication and change. A good example of how a small business can survive. I remember this store as a kid in the seventies and still visit when I go home. God bless.