One of the largest independent family-owned department stores in Atlantic Canada was built in 1906 and well known as The 2 Barkers in the heart of historic downtown Amherst, Nova Scotia.
Built of red brick which was manufactured in Pugwash, it stood three stories high with 16 foot ceilings made of sculptured tin. The structure is supported by huge posts spanning all three floors. The building was furnished with oak display tables and cabinets. The sweeping staircase complete with elegant banisters and newel posts was and still is the main attraction that makes this beautiful store one of a kind.
The 2 Barkers sold a variety of goods including groceries, cars and clothing for the whole family. There was even a dream house on the second floor, a lunch counter on the main floor as well as a catalogue ordering department. This grand store also had its own water tower and year round delivery service by horse and carriage. On the balcony stood the cashiers cage where all money transactions were rung through and processed. A tin pouch would carry the money by wires throughout the store to the cash cage and the proper change was then returned to the waiting customer.
In 1955, The 2 Barkers was purchased by the Margolian Family and after months of preparation, the modern day department store was reopened September 15, 1955. The grand store was renamed Margolians Maritimes Ltd. and was guided by part owner and general manager Bernard Sidler. The selling space was nearly 30,000 square feet, including a third floor used for storage and later, a bargain center in the basement carrying clothing and footwear at a reduced price.
Bernard Sidler lived in Truro, N.S. with his wife the former Bernyce Margolian and their two children Robert and Karen. Although Amherst wasn’t his home, Mr. Sidler traveled every week to work at the Amherst location. In 1974 his daughter Karen and son in-law Don Cormier moved to Amherst to manage the department store and eventually raise their four children.
Over the years Margolians flourished, drawing customers not only from Cumberland County and surrounding areas but from New Brunswick as well. The retail store constantly kept up with modern styles and up dated their furnishings as the years went by. Today, customers can still satisfy their shopping needs at this unique store. Along with the bargain basement, a sporting goods department has been added and a large selection of Home Decor with a bridal registry. Although the dream house and the lunch counter are gone, the store is well known for its brand names, wide variety of merchandise, great sales, friendly staff and personal service. We employ thirty full time and part time staff along with summer students.
In April of 2004 the President of Margolians Maritimes Ltd., Bernard Sidler, passed away. His children Robert and Karen decided to separate the two store locations, as both had children who were interested in the business.
In November 2004, the Amherst Margolians location was renamed Dayle’s Dept. Store. Don and Karen Cormier have been at the helm of this retail outlet for 31 years. Their daughter Tamara joined the team in 2001, followed by their son Matt this past year. They stressed only the name has changed. You will find unique quality goods, top brand names and the latest trends at affordable prices. Our friendly knowledgeable staff will continue to provide personal service. A truly old fashioned department store with a touch of class.
Loyal staff members, along with management have been busy restoring some of the old landmarks of the building, refinishing the original staircase and painting and varnishing the old counters. In the year 2006, we will celebrate 100 years as one of the largest independent department stores left in Eastern Canada. Make Dayle’s Dept. Store your shopping destination in historic downtown Amherst.
‘We reflect elements of the past that are sure to warm up your future.’