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There Was Nothing Like Riff’s Clothes

Black and white archival photograph. Street view. Building visible across railway tracks. Sign across building reads RIFF’S and below that HUGE SAVINGS NOW. Male and female manikins are visible in the front windows. P.F. Kearney’s shop is to the right.

Exterior view of Riff’s on Main Street. Circa 1960s.


“Donald Riff, boy he had great stuff. He used to go to Montreal and he used to go to these fashion fairs with his buyer. They would pick out these clothes – I tell you there was nothing like Riff’s clothes. They had great stuff,” remembers Elizabeth Münch Power.

Black and white archival photograph. Street view. Window signs from left to right read: CLEARANCE SALE OUR PRICES ARE LOWER. Sign on the right side of the building reads: WINDSOR STYLE SHOP LTD. LEADS IN Fashions WHOLESALE & RETAIL. Six people stand on the sidewalk outside the building. Two boys, two girls, and a mother and daughter.

Windsor Style Shop Ltd. Established in 1946 Main Street, Windsor. 1946.


James (Jim) Riff arrived in Newfoundland sometime in the late 1930s. As a travelling salesman, he sold various items in the communities of Millertown and Buchans before establishing a store on Main Street, Windsor in the mid-1940s. This initial general dry goods store was called the Windsor Style Shop before being renamed and expanded as Riff’s. Over the years Riff’s expanded into clothing and furniture, and opened stores across the province that still draw customers around the island today.

Audio clip with transcript: Mary Kelly describes Riff’s.

Riff’s also operated a shoe shop and the popular Toybox during the Christmas season. They would frequently send staff to Montreal on buying trips for the new seasons, with the Riff family eventually making the move to Montreal themselves.

Black and white archival photograph. Staff in front of a wall of shoes. Left to right: man in a business suit with a tie, five women, and a man wearing a long sleeved shirt and pants. All people have dark hair. Women are all wearing skirts and shirts or dresses, and some wear blazers.

Riff’s Shoe Store staff in the 1960s. Mr. Dutton (manager), unknown, unknown, Eileen Warr (Jewer), unknown, Marie Decker (Saunders), Lloyd Gregory.


Remembering the Riff owners as great merchandisers and excellent buyers, Mary Kelly says:

“They were fabulous owners. All I can say is good stuff about the Riff family and how they ran the business. Whether it was the father who started, or Don Riff who took over when his father died. They were fabulous people to work for.”

James Riff’s sons Donald and Ivor Riff also worked in the family business over the years. Iver and his wife continue to operate Riff’s in 2018. Although the Main Street store is gone, the Riffs continue in Grand Falls-Windsor with a store on Hardy Avenue and a real estate business.