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  • Bowring Store Closure Marks End of an Era for Old Newfoundland Mercantile Family

    The descendant of a Newfoundland mercantile dynasty says she’s saddened that the store that bears her family’s name will soon be no more.

    The Bombay Company and Bowring are closing stores across Canada including their two retail locations in the capital city’s east end.

    Amy Bowring, a dance historian in Toronto, edited a book of her grandfather, Derrick Bowring’s memoirs titled “Down to Bowring’s”.

    She says the company started in 1811 with Benjamin Bowring and his wife Charlotte who came to St. John’s from England. He was a clock smith and jewellery maker and she opened a dry goods store on Water Street. She says that’s when they realized that the dry goods store was a better business prospect than the clocks and jewellery.

    Bowring says when Benjamin retired, his sons took over the business which became Bowring Brothers Limited.

    Bowring says there was a parent company in England, that eventually expanded into the fishery and insurance. Her grandfather Derrick Bowring was the last Chairman of the Board, and he was the one, along with Fred Ayre, who after Confederation, expanded the concept of the gift shop that people know today.

    She says even though the family hasn’t been involved in the business for decades, there is still that familiar connection and she’s saddened by the closure. The iconic black and white bags still bear the Terra Nova in the circle and the date 1811, a design created by Fred Ayre.

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