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Kate Jackson - Archives

The F.T. Hill & Co. Store

Kate Jackson - Archives

The F.T. Hill & Co. store, once located at the corner of Main and Toronto Streets in Markdale, ON[1] is pictured below in a great exterior view, showcasing some of the wide range of goods available at the time. Newspaper advertisements for the store in the late 1890s promoted products such as clothing for women, men and children, groceries, soap, fabric, boots and shoes, and household items – some examples of which can be seen in the image.

 

PF442S1F1I2 – F.T. Hill & Co. store, Markdale, [after October 1896], The Grey Roots Archival Collection.

 

F.T. (Frank) was the son of Solomon and Sarah Hill, and as a young man apprenticed as a buyer for his father’s store, simultaneously trying to get the best price from visiting vendors, while also competing against other buyers interested in purchasing the same goods.[2] Then, in late 1896, in his early 20s, F.T. took over the operation of the general dry goods store previously owned by his father; the front page of The Markdale Standard, September 24, 1896, includes a detailed announcement from S. [Solomon] Hill explaining the change to customers.[3] (Perhaps Solomon was looking forward to new endeavours or just a more relaxing pace of life, as the advertisement is titled “BUSINESS CHANGE: GETTING OUT OF THE HARNESS!”). Interestingly, F.T. Hill’s management brought with it a transition from credit to cash sales, a system which promised lower prices for the customer.[4]

 

MF1S2F1I17 – Excerpt from The Markdale Standard, October 1, 1896, The Grey Roots Archival Collection.

 

Under F.T. Hill’s leadership the company would eventually establish several branch locations across south central Ontario, including locations at “Orangeville, Alliston, Tara, Highgate, and […] Meaford.”[5]

In many of its front page newspaper advertisements at the turn of the 20th century, the F.T. Hill & Co. store branded itself as “Markdale’s Greatest Store” – it certainly remains a great part of our local history.

 

[1] Judy Birchall, Andy Brown and Sharee Irwin, Markdale and Flesherton: A Written Heritage (s.l.: Grey County Historical Society, 1979), 18.

[2] Mrs. F.J. Ritchie for the Markdale Centennial, An Outline of the History of Markdale and District (s.l.: s.n., [1949]), 6.

[3] Markdale Standard, September 24, 1896.

[4] Markdale Standard, October 1, 1896.

[5] Markdale Historical Society, Markdale the Crossroads of Grey, ed. Mildred Young Hubbert. (Markdale, ON: Markdale Historical Society, [1988]), 200.

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