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The Original Fenelon Falls IGA

March 31, 2023

Produce Section at Grand Opening of Fenelon Falls IGA, 1957

Up to the mid twentieth century, Fenelon Falls was served by family-owned general or grocery stores. In 1957, John Sobko opened the village’s first chain grocery store, at 10 Colborne Street (now the sales office for Fenelon Lakes Club condos)—it was then a new building. In March, a ceremony was held on the main street where Harold Sider handed John the keys, and a lineup formed to be at the grand opening of a supermarket! Village photographer Claude Bellwood was on hand to capture the event.

At the time Sobko’s IGA opened, the brand was new in Ontario and introduced a new look to local shopping. It was not the largest store in town, having just two aisles with a meat counter at the back of the store, but supermarkets had a modern look that was no common in general stores. At that time, grocers wore white uniforms, and male workers sported bow ties, while ladies wore skirts. On opening day, a tube of Colgate Toothpaste cost 85 cents, a dozen Sunkist oranges was 43 cents, and a package of wieners was 45 cents.

The IGA soon outgrew the store, and ten years later, John Sobko purchased the block of stores next door and demolished them to build a new store, now the Red Apple. At that time Siders took over the other half of the building on the corner (later Stokes on Trent). After thirty-five years in the brick store, the IGA became a Sobeys and moved to its present location on Lindsay Street, south of the Bridge in 2002.

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