Nina Peddle sits in her cabin next to a crackling wood stove. From her living room windows, she has a view of a large pond and beyond that are the Table Mountains.
Nina Peddle ran Peddle’s Variety in MacDougall’s for 30 years. She closed the doors in June 2009 to deal with her husband’s illness. Now she has decided to close shop for good.
Peddle’s Variety stands next to her cabin in MacDougall’s. The white sign with red print is still there, advertising cold beer and ice. But inside, the beer fridge is empty. There are no shelves, and the counter is pushed up to the wall.
Mrs. Peddle ran the small general store for about 30 years. A few years ago, Mrs. Peddle’s husband Robert Peddle became ill. She couldn’t run the store anymore. The store, which was open seasonally from May to October, closed for good in June 2009.
In the beginning, Mrs. and Mr. Peddle lived in the store. The original Peddle’s Variety was an even smaller building a few steps away, which stands there today beside a small changing hut.
For the first eight years or so, the store had no power.
“I had to write everything down in a book - everything I bought, everything I sold,” said Mrs. Peddle. “There was no cold pop, no cold beer.”
It didn’t matter, though, said Mrs. Peddle, because there was ice.
Around the time they got power, Mrs. and Mr. Peddle built a new cabin and their old cabin became the store.
“He (Mr. Peddle) was working at the time, and I spent from when school closed until September up here anyway, and there was no store up here,” said Mrs. Peddle.
So opening a little candy store made sense.
She loved to meet people and hear all the gossip, Mrs. Peddle said laughing.
“I enjoyed the kids buying their candy,” she said. “I love kids anyway.”
The children would swim in the pond and then come into the store with their loonies or toonies. They’d buy their treats and sit outside on the steps before heading home. The children called the store Lilly Pond because it was next to the pond they swam in.
Even though Mrs. Peddle loved to socialize and run the store, it wasn’t always easy. It was open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, from May to October. The only time she would hire someone was if she got sick.
She had help. When she was sick, her friend Veronica Roberts was there. Her brother Ray, who lives next door, also helped a lot by carrying stuff into the store.
Then there was the fire, said Mrs. Peddle.
“And I had that store stocked, right to the doors,” she said.
When Mrs. Peddle saw the fire, she jumped aboard her husband’s truck.
“I could see the firemen rowing across there with my boat trying to put out the fire,” she said, pointing to the pond. “We were watching them going in the store and out of the store.”
They stayed in their cabin that night, watching the fire around them. The mountains were on fire, and about six or seven cabins burned, said Mrs. Peddle.
Like his wife, Mr. Peddle loved the company the store brought.
“The people came in and talked to him,” said Mrs. Peddle.
She said when the store closed, her husband was lost when he looked outside and didn’t see cars or people.
“But he knew that I couldn’t look after him and run the store too,” she said.
Mr. and Mrs. Peddle celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in the store on Aug. 4 and 5, 2010. About 60 or 70 people came to celebrate the festivities.
Mr. Peddle died on Sept. 11, 2010.
Although people asked Mrs. Peddle if she would open the store again, she knows it’s too much work. When the store opened in the early 1980s, things were relatively quiet, but before it closed, things were non-stop.
As for people in the community, said Mrs. Peddle, they were heartbroken when she closed the store. People asked her to open the store again last year, but she couldn’t.
“I turned 73 in December,” she said. “I figured that’s enough time to work.”