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Phantom signs: Grand Forks Furniture & Hardware

One of the more venerable Boundary commercial institutions was Grand Forks Furniture & Hardware at 358 Market Ave. The business has been gone for almost 25 years but the building still bears its very faded signage on two sides. The photos seen here were taken in 2007.

The store’s manager for decades was Joseph T. Simmons, who was born in England in 1883 and immigrated to Canada around 1899.

The Grand Forks Gazette reported in 1913 that Simmons “recently arriving from Alberta, leased the double store vacated by Woodland and Co. and expected to open a house furnishing business here by the early spring.”

This item from the Grand Forks Sun of Oct. 15, 1915 details the company’s creation and move into a new headquarters:

I can’t say for sure if the building mentioned above was the present 358 Market Ave. (Market was previously known as Bridge St.) I suspect as much, but BC Assessment puts its construction date as 1930.

An item from The Vancouver Sun of Feb. 20, 1937 gives a bit of a flavour of the store’s stock and Simmons’ community activities outside of his business:

Simmons ran the store for over 40 years, until his retirement in 1956. (From at least 1920-25, James A. Smith was co-proprietor.) Simmons died in Grand Forks in 1964, age 81, but the store continued for many years afterward. It was last listed in the phone book in 1995.

The building is now occupied by Body Edge Fitness.

Greg Nesteroff collection

358 Market Ave., seen on Google Street View

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