J.E. Beaton’s Grocery

c. 1888-1929

John Sidey Beaton was born in Pickering Village in 1857, the son of Hector Beaton and Rachel MacIntyre Sidey. He moved to Oshawa in 1872 and entered into the grocery business by working for the Steele Briggs Grocery and Seed Business. This store was located at 13 King Street West, next to the Central Hotel.

Beaton was paid $65.00 per month for his labour. With this salary, he built himself a home, and on February 8, 1883 he married Jennie Elizabeth Gibson. Together they raised two sons, Robert Roy and John Hector.

After working as a bookkeeper with the Oshawa Stove Company, Beaton returned to Steele Briggs before establishing his own grocery, seed and china retail business. This store was originally located at 27-29 Simcoe Street South, on the east side of the street. The business flourished until it was struck by two disasters. First, the store suffered a damaging fire, which resulted in the relocation of the business to the old Steele Briggs store while the restoration of Beaton’s took place. Following this, Beaton’s store encountered financial difficulties and went bankrupt. These events proved to only be minor setbacks, as the Beaton’s picked up the pieces and reestablished their business under the name J.E. Beaton (after John Sidey Beaton’s wife, Jennie).

Beaton’s experience in the retail business allowed him to gain a large amount of knowledge in tea blending, china and groceries.  He specialized in high-class merchandise such as china, quality foodstuffs and seeds.  The store dealt with both wholesale and retail, and offered a large variety of merchandise ranging from teas, coffees, and baking goods to glassware, china and crockery.  The store eventually adopted the name “Beaton’s Busy Store” with the motto “You Can’t Beat Beaton’s.”

The Beaton family also took part in his grocery business.  Jennie assisted in the store and maintained the books while their son Robert Roy clerked and eventually took the position of manager.  The Beaton’s store was popular in the Oshawa area, known for its quality merchandise and friendly, helpful environment.  The customers were always happily welcomed and served with a smile.  A 1909 newspaper clipping stated that “Mr. Beaton… is one of our most courteous and affable citizens and has the confidence and esteem of all with whom he does business”.

The store was maintained until 1929, when it was liquidated in response to the rising competition of supermarkets and other retail outlets. Beaton passed away shortly after, in 1931, following several strokes and a lengthy illness. John Sidey Beaton became well respected and loved by both family and friends in Oshawa.  He is buried with his wife Jennie, in Oshawa’s Union Cemetery.

Rate and write a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Simcoe Street South 29
Oshawa L1H 4G1 ON CA
Get directions