| Mar 26, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - March 26, 2009 Landmark Parham store is soldBy Julie Druker

Jean Graham, and Melville and Doris Good of the J.M. Good store in Parham

The J.M. Good store in Parham has been a landmark in the community since Melville Good bought it 62 years ago, in 1945, back when customers were purchasing their gas, sugar and meat with ration coupons.

The store is a reminder of general stores of yesteryear, its painted tin ceiling still intact, the original wooden counter still standing.

The most wear and tear can be seen on the rubbed off varnish on the window ledge, the seat where Melville holds court most days and where, he pointed out to me, “Lots of bums have sat to chat”, an occurrence that still happens numerous times daily and which remains a favorite pastime for Mel and his many visitors.

Melville Good grew up on a farmstead on Long Lake Road and purchased the store from Lester and Sue Bateman way back when he was 26 years old, when there was still a train station in Parham.

Along with store owner, one of the many hats he’s worn throughout his years included acting caretaker agent of the station from 1946 until the station closed in 1965. After that, from 1965-1985, Mel was postmaster when the Parham post office was run out of his store. For years he also continued to help out on his parents’ farm. It was only the dedicated help of his wife Doris and her sister Jean in the store that allowed Mel to wear so many hats in the community, his most famous perhaps being as the director of the Parham Fair for 50 years running.

Mel, Doris and Jean are quite the team and the store has not only provided their livelihoods but has also been their home. They live on the both the main and second floors of the building.

The store was never put on the market, but the three have been preparing for the inevitable move. Mel built a new home on the old homestead on Long Lake a few years back and he admits, “We’ve been planning to move there for some time now”.

So when Mel was approached by Hope Stinchcombe, daughter of King and Carol earlier this year, everything kind of fell into place. He recalled, “She just phoned one day and asked if I would be interested in selling the place.” The rest is history and as far as Mel can tell, “As of April first, it’s a done deal”.

Hope Stinchcombe intends to keep the business running as it has always been, which makes sense, since it was her great grandfather Earl Howes who built all of the original shelving in the store. She plans to keep the place intact and looking like the classic general store it remains while adding a few additional flourishes of her own. “I hope to add antiques and coffee and a ‘gossip corner’ with chairs so people like Mel, my dad and Glen Howes can come by and visit”.

She admits to having lots to learn from Mel, Doris and Jean and has ready acquired from them some helpful hints like making sure to order lots of Certo for the fall canning season.

Hope will be helped by Annette Howes, another local gal who’s also decided to move back to where her roots are.

It makes perfect sense for Hope, who found herself in-between jobs. She’s been looking for a career change since being laid off in July as a supervisor in an electronics plant and had been commuting daily between Ottawa and Glen Tay.

So… yes…. it is true. The J.M. Good store will be changing hands but it seems that no other drastic changes await. Rather and likely, to many people’s relief, the “Good” in the J.M. Good store will thankfully remain and if it does change, it will likely only go from "Good" to better.

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