(Woody Point, Bonne Bay)
Roberts Store was built for John William Roberts and his sons in 1922 or 1923 after the "big fire", which destroyed much of downtown Woody Point. At that time the store was used as a "Store House", mainly for the storage of herring nets, boats, and supplies. The wharf and premises were later used for fishing boats operated for several years by his sons John J, Lloyd Mark and William. These men fished year round until 1949, when they ceased fishing except for John J. who continued to use the upstairs and wharf as an inshore fishing premises.
© 2004 Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
In 1951, John William Roberts set up a small grocery store in this building. He operated the business until 1953. He died in 1953 and in 1954 his son Mark operated a convenience store from this building for one year.
William L. (Uncle Bill) began to operated a convenience store, snack bar and teenage hangout out of the building in 1955. It is said many residents of Bonne Bay met their future husband or wife in this building. Sid Roberts maintains that he received his first kiss on the premises. William L. continued to operate this business for twenty years. During this time John J. and Lloyd (Junior) continued to use the upstairs loft and wharf as fishing premises.
Since 1973 John William's grandchildren John M. and Lloyd (Junior) have used the building and wharf for fishing and storage, and is it is presently being used as a store house for fishing gear. This building has now been reverted back to its original purpose.
The restoration of Roberts Store was begun in 2002 under the Fisheries Heritage Preservation Program of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. In deciding to support the restoration of the store, the Foundation noted that the herring industry was an important aspect of the traditional fishery, and an aspect of the fishery that is not normally commemorated in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The restoration team jacked up the front of the building and placed of permanent blocks under the building which allowed the property to be aligned with the road. New shingles were placed on the roof and the eaves were replaced. The team also replaced siding and windows and painted of outside of building.
As the restoration proceeded, it was discovered that the sheathing boards of the structure made large use of recycled materials, including wood from packing crates. Marks on the crates offer interesting clues as to the dates of construction and the business operations of the Roberts family. One crate was stencilled with the date July 28, 1922, while another bore the logo of the Mishawaka Rubber and Woolen Manufacturing Company, of Mishawaka, Indiana.
Work to repair the wharf began in 2002, but weather has delayed this activity until spring 2003. The Roberts family also undertook repairs to the inside of the building, repairing the floor, stripping and replacing sheeting on the walls and installing electricity.