Let's go shopping
Sometime between 1907 and 1912, the first store was built in Anola on the present site of the Esso gas station, which is the south east corner of the junction of highways 15 and 12. There seems to be some uncertainty as to who exactly built that first store. Dickson, Miller, Clark and Chester are names that have been documented, but which one is correct has not been determined at this time. What is known is that Mr. Luke Bugyik bought it in 1915..
Mr. Bugyik had immigrated from the Budapest region of Hungary and after a few years in Saskatchewan settled in Anola. His son Louis remembers the store, which had several outbuildings including a two story ice house and a smoke house. Louis recalls helping his father with everything from invoicing to butchering, even before he reached school age.
adjusted accordingly, as there were often arguments pertaining to the size of a true cord. Times were tough. Howard Wright, in the Transcona News, dated August 13, 1959 relates: "Mr. Bugyik was a familiar figure in Anola for many years. When hard times became prevalent, he became quite a trader and would take cord wood or fence posts or anything else he could resell in trade on groceries and provisions, or to payoff a store bill. He used to take grain in trade which he fed to his pigs. Much of the pork he raised and the eggs and butter he took in trade found its way to the camps back east, which he supplied."
Considering the amount of people Mr. Bugyik supplied provisions to in the community, it's surprising to note the size of his store was no bigger than some walk in closets. Howard Wright: "I remember going into the store which was so small that Mr. Bugyik could sit behind the counter and reach behind or to either wall or under the counter to get what you wanted without having to leave his seat."
A.A. & R. Store
In 1944, Alex and Ann Halabiski bought the store from Mr. Bugyik. They renamed it the A.A. & R. Store, using their initials and that of their son, Robert (Bob).
Behind the store was an old barn where the Halabiski family kept their milking cows. They also had pigs, chickens, and at times 40 - 60 head of cattle. Daily life was no doubt a busy affair; running the store, post office, and tending to the needs of the animals.
In 1950 they built a larger facility on the same site and added a little restaurant with a couple of booths. They served drinks and various light meals. The store and its grounds were kept neat and tidy, and Ann tended her various flower plantings for an aesthetically pleasing touch.
In 1957, Alex passed away due to heart problems. Ann later remarried Theodore "Gus" Gass, a Highways Department Engineer. Two of the streets in Anola carry both Ann's first name as well as her second assumed surname, Gass. Kimberly Street is named after her granddaughter (Bob's daughter).
Bob Halabiski recalls when the store had to be moved over "a few feet" to accommodate the widening of Highway #15 and the by-laws which came with it. He also noted that there had been a small bridge on Highway #12 just south of #15, which went over a ditch that ran through the area. Unbeknownst to their parents, neighborhood kids would frequent the underside of the bridge to hang out and smoke. This netherworld was eliminated when the bridge was tom down.
The family continued to be active members of the community and ran the store up until 1970 when they sold it to Mr. Fred Marx. Ann stayed on as postmistress until she retired in 1977. Bob Halabiski, although not living in Anola, continues to frequent Annette's restaurant in the Village Inn where he plays guitar and sings with other musicians.
Mr. Marx renamed the store "Settlers Inn," and in later years it was sold to Ross Major. The basement of the store was home to the Anola beauty Salon, and a steak house restaurant was located where the post office once operated.
Ross Major leased out to Maurice Dandenault for a time, then sold out to Norman Laroque, who sold to Les Colmer. The gas station, previously Shell, is now Esso and the present owner is Anis Khan. The convenience store has spread out to include the area where the restaurant was, and also displays a large assortment of movie rentals. There is a small restaurant located on the south side of the convenience store which has changed hands a number of times; it is now called the Pizza Pit.
Kay's General Store
Paul Nimchuk opened his general store in Anola in1936 and served the town and surrounding area for some 31 years. On October 2, 1937 he married Katie Lebitt of Hazelridge and shortly after that officially named the business Kay's General Store. The store became the classic country emporium selling groceries, hardware, steel and plow bolts, cattle and poultry feeds, oils, greases, gasoline (pumped or barreled), clothing, gifts, tobacco, horse harness equipment, patent medicines, meats, fruits, fan belts, etc. Once the business developed a reputation for having practically anything you might need it drew customers for fifteen miles in all directions. Remember, this was a time (the 40's and 50's) when making the drive to Winnipeg was a very big deal so if you could go to Kay's and avoid the big city, you gladly did it. The store was remodeled in 1952.
The store was the first establishment in town with electric lights, getting its power from a diesel generator. The machine was large enough to also supply the Anola Hall which was almost directly across Dugald Road (later Highway 15). When electricity came to the area in the early 50's Manitoba Hydro would not charge for electricity used for a towns' Christmas lights, so Paul organized the purchase of the first two strings to cross Dugald Road and then got the free service extended to include Ukrainian Christmas.
December 24 was a special shopping day at Kay's because every adult was offered a glass of wine in the back storeroom. For several farm ladies in the area, this was the one day of the year that they made the trip into Anola.
Keeping the store inventory updated meant that Paul would drive the 2-ton truck into Winnipeg every Tuesday and Kay every Friday.Neighbors frequently hitched a ride.
Paul and Kay were very active members in the community. Kay was president of the Anola Chatelaine Ladies Club and the Ukrainian Ladies Club. Paul was secretary for many years of McDavid School District (No. 1234); he was on the executive of The Springfield Exhibition Society; he organized and was president of the Anola and District Chamber of Commerce; was on the executive of the Retail Merchants Association of Manitoba; he organized the first sports club which procured the property for baseball diamonds and a hockey rink in town; he was a member of the Welfare Advisory Appeal Board of Manitoba; he was president and secretary for both the Federal and Provincial Progressive Conservative party organizations.
Kay and Paul sold their business in 1967 to Steve and Irene Boriskewich and moved to St. Boniface in retirement. Paul died August 28, 1987, while visiting son Ron (born 1942) and his wife (Lovie Pakarnyk of South Transcona), in Edmonton. Kay moved to Edmonton in 1998 and then to Penticton, BC in December, 2005. Ron and Lovle also are in Penticton after 40 years in Edmonton. Kay's granddaughter, Anastasia, is a pharmacistin Digby, Nova Scotia.
Steve & Irene Boriskewich had 4 children at the time they bought the store; Dean who was 9, Gary was 7, Brenda, 5 and Mark 3. It was a busy year for them. 1967 was Canada's Centennial Year, which added to the activities of moving into the store at that time.
In 1969, the store started selling Sno Jet snowmobiles & Ariens lawn and garden equipment. Some of the clothing & shoes were deleted from the store, and in the following year the liquor vendor was added. An addition was made in 1973 to double the store to its present size of 40' by 60'. The main focus of the store at that time was selling groceries, meat,gas and feed. In 1981 the Boriskewich family leased the store to the Jim & Vi Henderson family. They had threechildren; Dave, Derek and Dorothy. The store didn'tchange much, but they discontinued selling the snowmobiles & lawn equipment. In 1988 Saul and Marietta Brody took over the lease with their six children. In 1994, Alvin and Natalie Suchoplas, along with their three children, began to lease the store. A smoke house was added. This allowed for a larger variety of meats and smoked products.
After almost 40 years of ownership, the Boriskewich family sold the store to the Suchoplas family in 2004. In 2006 the store was again sold to Jacques and Lisa Levesque and their children.
The Weiser Blacksmith Shop
The Weiser Blacksmith business was one of the first businesses to locate in AnoIa. Henry Weiser built his blacksmith shop in 1933 on the southwest comer of highways #12 and #15. Henry was kept busy in his shop, welding all sorts of equipment, all by use of hammer and anvil. He and his brothers also operated a saw-mill and shingle making machine; the mill being powered by an old Sawyer Massey steam traction engine. Unfortunately, the supply of good logs ran short, resulting in the closure of the mill six years later.
Henry and Molly Weiser had four children, Gordon, Elsie, Walter and Judy.
Henry was a very active member of the community, particularly with the Anola Baptist Church, as you will read later in this book.
After running the business for over 30 years, he left Manitoba and moved to British Columbia. His son Walter later became a pastor in Saskatchewan.
Bob Halabiski recalls when he and Walter, as children, would sneak chocolate bars from Bob's parents' store. They would retreat to the confines of the outhouse to eat them. These childhood escapades weighed heavily on Walter for many, many years, until he could not stand the guilt any longer and wrote a cheque to Bob's mother Ann to cover the cost of the stolen merchandise.
At the opposite end of the scale, Bob says that eating the candy in the outhouse was punishment enough.
A.W. Koskie & Son’s John Deere Dealership
Alexander Wesley Koskie was born in 1907 in the Monominto area. Liking the sound of the John Deere 2 cylinder tractors, he decided to become a dealer. In 1936 he received the contract to sell and service John Deere equipment, which he did from his small shop located 5 miles south of Anola. In 1938 he married Edith May Belsham. They had 3 children; Wesley, Elizabeth (Betty) and Valerie. In 1947, the Koskies purchased land in the village of Anola to build a shop for their business, and in 1948 construction began on the building.
The following year Alex and Edith moved their house from south of Anola to the northwest comer of highways 15 and 12, where the shop was located. Their son Wesley recalls that the building movers had to lift the telegraph wires which ran over the CN line, and that the cost of moving the house was a steep $900.
In the early 1950's A.W. Koskie & Son was one of the leading dealers for sales in all of Manitoba. Alex, with the help of wife Edith and in later years son Wesley, ran the business until his retirement in 1967.
Alex also acted as secretary for the Beatrice school, and served two terms as councillor for the RM of Springfield. He worked very hard to bring electricity to rural areas. Edith helped out in the community as well. She belonged to the Chatelaine Club; raising money and making quilts for the needy, and was instrumental in getting the Anola Over 50 Club going.
In 1974, son Wesley purchased the shop and house from Alex and Edith and operated it as a body shop known as Koskie Auto Body until closing in 1994. The building still stands, and is now being used for storage.
In 1925, Clifton Orr and Charlie Cox opened a small garage. This enterprise lasted only a few months before closing down. Anola was without a garage until 1945 when Leo Bieganski and Fred Shuel built a new garage across the highway from Kay's General Store and opened up for business. Their partnership dissolved after about a year. Mr. Bieganski continued on with the business until he and his family moved out of the area, resulting in its closure.
In approximately 1954, Mr. Jim Reeves purchased the garage, spruced it up with new paint, bought the necessary equipment and even had a hydraulic hoist installed. It was operated under the name of Reeves Motors, later changing names to Anola Husky Service.
After 16 years in business, the garage was closed down. Shortly thereafter, the structure was set ablaze and used as a controlled fire extinguishing drill by the Springfield Fire Department.
Source: Anola Past and Present, Compiled by Mary DeJong