Beckett’s diversified line of family-owned Beckett in Amherstberg

Article content

When the lottery machine was fixed and the candy counter emptied, an era for Beckett’s diversity came to an end, a family-owned fixture in Amherstburg for nearly three-quarters of a century.

Advertising

Article content

Owner Joe Beckett will retire on December 31 after his father, William Austin Beckett, and uncle Julian Copacaz decided to close the business in 1947.

When it started, the small grocery store was located on Sandwich Street in the corner from its current location. But in 1952, William Beckett sold sandwiches and a portion of the property he owned on Alma Street and moved the family home to the former 96 Alma cents.

It has been a great life

The living room and a bedroom were converted into storerooms, and the Beckett family – William and wife Isabel and their 10 children – lived in the backyard.

Back then it was known as Townline Confectionary, because Alma Street was the townline between Molden and Andardon Township, the store selling fresh meat, deli products, dried goods, vegetables and fruits long before the big box grocery store opened in town.

Advertising

Article content

Joe Beckett, owner of the Beckett Variety in Amherstburg, is shown at the Alma Street Store on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.  The business has been in the family for over 70 years and he plans to retire
Joe Beckett, owner of the Beckett Variety in Amherstburg, is shown at the Alma Street Store on Wednesday, December 22, 2021. The business has been in the family for over 70 years and he plans to retire Photo by Dan Janice /Windsor Star

By 1958, there was a large Coca-Cola sign out front and glass bottled soda pops were distributed in wooden crates. The kids will stop with nickel and dime to pick candy from the self-service bin.

Eventually the store was renamed Beckets Variety.

The whole family worked there – the kids after school and on weekends. William worked seven days a week until his death in 1975.

“I was doing my homework here while I waited for customers,” Beckett said.

In 2001, he bought his mother Isabel from the business.

Beckett ran the store with the help of his siblings and nieces and nephews just four years ago when he had to hire employees from outside the family.

“There wasn’t a dull moment,” said Sister Kathy Beckett. “It has always been a busy shop. And it paid the bill. “

Advertising

Article content

Kathy recalls a large draw of cigarettes for customers, which cost less than her father.

“It wasn’t profitable but we had a factory right next door, SKD, and they were on their break before work, in the morning and in the afternoon break – their lunch.

“(Dad) used to cash their paychecks and he sells things… whatever they want. And they certainly got their cigarettes. The cheapest in town. “

Kathy started working in the store at the age of 12 and continued to work year after year.

“It was part of our lives, working in stores,” he said.

“Regular” has been around for years and many customers can’t believe it’s closing, ”Cathy said.

“I’m really going to miss this place,” he said.

After 46 years at Beckets, Joe, the youngest brother, chose to close rather than sell.

Advertising

Article content

He said his decision to close the business was not based on financial or financial problems surrounding the Kovid-19 epidemic but a desire to retire and enjoy a quieter pace of life.

“I have been doing this for 46 years. Most of it was seven days a week. And I’m not getting younger. It’s time to dump her, “said Beckett.

Her favorite memories revolve around knowing “many great customers”.

“Many of them are customers again. You know everyone by name, ”he said. “I’m good friends with a lot of people.”

She is proud that the business has supported her extended family for so many years and is a good training ground for the younger generation.

“It simply came to our notice then. It put a lot of nephews and nieces on the right track as far as work ethic and everything is learning, “Beckett said.” Many of them left after they left and got good jobs.

The building is where he has lived all his life and he doesn’t want to live anywhere else.

“I like where I live. I don’t have any neighbors. It’s a big property. I love yard work,” said Beckett, who has never been married and has no children. “We’ve always lived here. It’s the only place I know.” . “

Some renovations are planned and Beckett will spend more time on his woodwork and carpentry hobbies.

“I’m waiting for that, change.”

The Beckett Variety will officially close on December 31 at 10pm at the end of the line.

jkotsis@postmedia.com

twitter.com/KotsisStar

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civic forum for discussion and encourages all readers to share their views on our article. It may take up to an hour before the comments appear on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, an update to a comment thread you follow, or if you follow a user’s comment. See our Community Guide for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Comment

x
%d bloggers like this: