Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

The Corner Store

Home > Maryborough > Misc | Travel | Free | Shopping Centres | Places of Interest | Places of Interest | Shopping Centres | Travel
by Susan J Bowes (subscribe)
Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published April 10th 2021
Corner stores & childhood memories of one-stop shopping
When I was a child, the corner supermarket was a single shop that sold almost everything. I can remember my Mum purchasing cotton and needles for sewing, Christmas and Birthday cards and paper, pantry items, small goods, gifts, kitchen utensils and more. I vividly remember a glass-front yellow coloured cupboard to the side of the entry that showcased different varieties of lollies, each costing a cent or two. You could purchase five for one or two cents and if you were lucky enough to be given twenty cents, then a feast of lollies could be purchased to take home to share.

Shopping Centres, Misc, History, Maryborough, Queensland, Places of Interest, Travel, Fun Things to Do
Ex Millers' Corner Store, That Had Everything!

Across the road on the opposite corner was the butcher shop with an old broken lino floor in front of the counter and a wooden floor covered in sawdust behind the counter. The cutting machines were laid out in the middle of the room behind the front counter and when you requested a cut of meat, the butcher would bring large slabs out to be sliced up for the customer.

Shopping Centres, Misc, History, Maryborough, Queensland, Places of Interest, Travel, Fun Things to Do
Once Known as Staib's Butchery, Maryborough. Butcher shops had a distinctive shape in those days

The corner stores were also meeting places, everyone knew their neighbours and as the local corner store was the only one around for miles, you would often bump into people you knew. I can remember riding my bicycle up to the store on several occasions for Mum if she was baking a cake or preparing dinner and an ingredient she required was not in the pantry. The store owners knew you and knew your parents.

These days most suburbs have a corner complex, where not only will you find the grocery store, but also the butcher, baker, chemist, doctor, hairdresser, and in my local complex a pizza shop, bottle shop, takeaway café, a dog grooming salon and Australia Post Letter Box on the footpath.

Shopping Centres, Misc, History, Maryborough, Queensland, Places of Interest, Travel, Fun Things to Do
Today's Local Shopping Centres, complete with variety of shops

Unfortunately, these days there is never enough time in a day, so when dropping in to grab items, there is no time to get to know anyone and most people do not know many of their neighbours either. Your face may be familiar to the grocer, but then who stops for a long conversation anyway and the chemist will probably only remember your name as a regular for dispensing your prescriptions. As the service is friendly, a smile is given, the return visit is a certainty, as the complex is on the way home. How times have changed!

Suburban corner complexes have not replaced large shopping centres as they tend to be a little dearer due to the lower demand in stock turnover, however, they do provide a valuable service to the local area and for tradies passing on the way to work. The bakery in my local corner complex is always packed with tradies coming and going during a working day.

Shopping Centres, Misc, History, Maryborough, Queensland, Places of Interest, Travel, Fun Things to Do
At one time this corner store housed collectables e.g. matchbox cars etc.

So, what has happened to those corner stores? Memories of days long ago are etched in our brains and often discussed on 'remember when' community pages relative to our childhood town, through social media.

Pondering on this thought and back home for a weekend in my childhood town, I took note of what has become of the shops that once held laughter and neighbourly stories, adventures and sometimes gossip within the wooden walls of the stores. If only the walls could talk!

Shopping Centres, Misc, History, Maryborough, Queensland, Places of Interest, Travel, Fun Things to Do
As far as I can remember, this was a Fish n Chip Shop with Groceries in the front. Then Coffee & Gift House, now stands vacant

Our grocer had a residence attached to the store, however, the residence has long been sold and the corner store is now a hairdresser, the butcher has become an Antiques and Collectables Shop, yet only open on certain days. Driving around the other suburbs, I noticed some have remained corner stores and others have taken on the roles of coffee shops, craft and workshop venue, art shops, residences and some largely forgotten and left in despair of regular maintenance and upkeep.

Sadly, with industry now mainly in the capital cities, youngsters have moved away leaving bare shop buildings standing waiting for another call to duty when they can be renovated, redecorated and loved for a purpose fit to share.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  31
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Researching, Remembering Your Local Corner Store
When: Anytime
Where: Anywhere
Cost: FREE
Your Comment
Interesting reflection on past times. Thanks!
by Jenny Prior (score: 3|4270) 650 days ago
Popular Articles