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Yarmouth landmark to generations: Toots for sale or lease


YARMOUTH – There’s something magical about Toots.

It’s a place to take the young-at-heart, with candy galore: sours, red berries, yummies, giant lollipops, gumdrops, licorice, peppermints, Pez and much, much more to choose from.

Established in 1942 by Harold (Toots) Hatfield and his war bride, Eileen, the store at 291 Main St. is a landmark for many.

Fran Crowell and her husband Byron Boudreau bought Toots from the Hatfields in 1984. They’re now selling the business privately or providing the option of leasing.

 “We want to do things while we’re young… while we still can,” said Crowell.

She adds that although she’s already travelled across Canada and the United States, she’d like to do it again.

After more than three decades of service, she says she’s now waiting on adults who used to come into the store to buy candy as youngsters.

“I’ve seen them grow up. It’s funny,” she says with a throaty chuckle, “they remind me now that I was quite strict. They had to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and (I told them) ‘don’t touch nothing!’”

The temptation was strong. One entire side of the store is lined with magazines, the largest selection this side of Halifax, says Crowell.

The business carries “every known cigarette this side of Chicago.” There are cigars in stock and large unmarked drawers full of tobacco products cover the wall behind the counter.

Boudreau is a bit of a collector and some of his treasures can be found here. Look up for vintage magazines, old bottles, tins and weighing scales. Down closer to the floor you’ll discover an antique toilet, wooden packing crates and more.

After Foodland, opposite the Rodd Grand Hotel, closed several years ago, Toots began stocking more small grocery items.

The closest grocery store to downtown is about a kilometre away: Yarmouth South Red & White. Adding to the convenience, Toots is open seven days a week.

 “There are a lot of elderly people. I cater to them for sure,” said Crowell.

The store’s reputation has spread throughout the province and into the States, says Crowell.

“There was one lady, way back when… she used to call or write me a letter because they can’t get Red Rose tea. I used to mail it to her. I did that for six years,” she laughed.

CRASH NEXT DOOR

There have been some pretty intense moments.

On Aug. 28, 2002, the former Odeon Theatre next door came crashing down. Boudreau, who owned the vacant building, had planned to tear the roof off the following day.

Crowell had just left Toots when the brick building came tumbling down.

“The bricks went everywhere! They were inside Crosby’s, inside Gifts-a-Plenty, just everywhere,” she said.

From across the street, she saw the collapse when it began. A woman with a stroller was starting across the sidewalk, despite the barricades.

“It still gives me goose bumps thinking about it,” said Crowell.

She ran to the woman, grabbed her and the baby and shoved them behind a mailbox by Gifts-a-Plenty.

“I don’t think she would have got severely hurt but she would have been cut up by the bricks a bit,” she said.

She recalls the difficult times on Main Street in the years following.

“It was pretty hard then. We had a skeleton crew and it was pretty nasty on Main Street. But now it’s fine.”

Five employees, including her, work in the store.

“I still love Toots. I’m not giving it up because I’m disappointed with the store or anything,” she said.

The couple hopes the new owner or owners continue the tradition of penny candy and other things that make the store unique.

 

For more info:

Those interested in the store, which has space on the second floor for the development of two apartments, can call Boudreau at Acadian Vending: 902-740-5242.

It’s a place to take the young-at-heart, with candy galore: sours, red berries, yummies, giant lollipops, gumdrops, licorice, peppermints, Pez and much, much more to choose from.

Established in 1942 by Harold (Toots) Hatfield and his war bride, Eileen, the store at 291 Main St. is a landmark for many.

Fran Crowell and her husband Byron Boudreau bought Toots from the Hatfields in 1984. They’re now selling the business privately or providing the option of leasing.

 “We want to do things while we’re young… while we still can,” said Crowell.

She adds that although she’s already travelled across Canada and the United States, she’d like to do it again.

After more than three decades of service, she says she’s now waiting on adults who used to come into the store to buy candy as youngsters.

“I’ve seen them grow up. It’s funny,” she says with a throaty chuckle, “they remind me now that I was quite strict. They had to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and (I told them) ‘don’t touch nothing!’”

The temptation was strong. One entire side of the store is lined with magazines, the largest selection this side of Halifax, says Crowell.

The business carries “every known cigarette this side of Chicago.” There are cigars in stock and large unmarked drawers full of tobacco products cover the wall behind the counter.

Boudreau is a bit of a collector and some of his treasures can be found here. Look up for vintage magazines, old bottles, tins and weighing scales. Down closer to the floor you’ll discover an antique toilet, wooden packing crates and more.

After Foodland, opposite the Rodd Grand Hotel, closed several years ago, Toots began stocking more small grocery items.

The closest grocery store to downtown is about a kilometre away: Yarmouth South Red & White. Adding to the convenience, Toots is open seven days a week.

 “There are a lot of elderly people. I cater to them for sure,” said Crowell.

The store’s reputation has spread throughout the province and into the States, says Crowell.

“There was one lady, way back when… she used to call or write me a letter because they can’t get Red Rose tea. I used to mail it to her. I did that for six years,” she laughed.

CRASH NEXT DOOR

There have been some pretty intense moments.

On Aug. 28, 2002, the former Odeon Theatre next door came crashing down. Boudreau, who owned the vacant building, had planned to tear the roof off the following day.

Crowell had just left Toots when the brick building came tumbling down.

“The bricks went everywhere! They were inside Crosby’s, inside Gifts-a-Plenty, just everywhere,” she said.

From across the street, she saw the collapse when it began. A woman with a stroller was starting across the sidewalk, despite the barricades.

“It still gives me goose bumps thinking about it,” said Crowell.

She ran to the woman, grabbed her and the baby and shoved them behind a mailbox by Gifts-a-Plenty.

“I don’t think she would have got severely hurt but she would have been cut up by the bricks a bit,” she said.

She recalls the difficult times on Main Street in the years following.

“It was pretty hard then. We had a skeleton crew and it was pretty nasty on Main Street. But now it’s fine.”

Five employees, including her, work in the store.

“I still love Toots. I’m not giving it up because I’m disappointed with the store or anything,” she said.

The couple hopes the new owner or owners continue the tradition of penny candy and other things that make the store unique.

 

For more info:

Those interested in the store, which has space on the second floor for the development of two apartments, can call Boudreau at Acadian Vending: 902-740-5242.

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