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Attracting Customers

Jewish merchants needed to bring the customers to their doors. In the early days of the community, as they moved from peddling to storekeeping, they relied on the good will and the word of mouth of their customers to adapt to this change. As the number of stores in the city increased, and as a means to divert customers from patronizing national chains, advertising in the newspaper was important.

Newspaper advertisement – “Bassen’s Attractive Offering for Easter!” – listing of children’s, men’s and women’s clothing and prices.

Newspaper advertisement – Bassen’s, 1936


Newspaper advertisement – “Hurry! Hurry! To NuMode’s Pre-Christmas Sale” – specials for millinery, car coats, dresses, jumpers, furs and winter coats for women.

Newspaper advertisement – NuMode, 1958


Newspaper advertisement – “Duval’s – Sale of School Books and Supplies” – listing of items with prices.

Newspaper advertisement – Duval’s, 1936


A survey of The Evening Times Globe from the 1930s to the 1980s reveals a number of interesting things about advertising. Throughout the lifetime of the Jewish businesses, newspaper advertisements were composed of words in various fonts and sizes or were illustrated with drawings of the clothing, shoes, home furnishings on offer.  For some of the larger stores or those who had owners with multiple talents the drawings would be produced by the stores themselves, but some were likely copied from the suppliers hoping the stores would carry their lines of merchandise.

Many stores advertised regularly – certainly by the 1940s several businesses made regular appearances on the same pages of the newspaper through the week for years or even decades. A good example of this was Calp’s who “owned” the fifth page for most of its history.

Newspaper advertisement – “Ideal Store” – listing of shoes, men’s and ladies’ wear and bedding with prices.

Newspaper advertisement – Ideal Stores, 1936


In The Evening Times Globe from the 1930s to the 1960s, the second page of the first section was filled with tiny ads from a wide variety of businesses which might appear only once or twice in the week. These ads might only be the name and location – the name was enough to define what the store sold, although sometimes there might be a line promoting one product or a specially priced item.

Newspaper advertisement – “God Save the King! True to the Motherland We Pledge Allegiance to His Majesty King George VI. Long May He Reign – Wiezel Bros.”

Newspaper advertisement – Wiezel Brothers, 1936


Some businesses – notably those selling groceries – would take out a larger ad to promote weekly specials to capture the attention of thrifty homemakers in search of bargains to keep their families well fed.

Newspaper advertisement –“Save $10 on this Topcoat” from Calp’s – accompanied by sketch of man in topcoat and hat.

Newspaper advertisement – Calp’s, 1947


Changes of the season (fall, winter, spring, summer), special events (Canada Day, school opening or closing) and holidays (Easter, Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Days) increased the size of the ads and prompted merchants who did not advertise on a regular basis to advertise goods in keeping with the season and gift giving needs.

Newspaper advertisement – “Father’s Day June 15th – Remember Dad – American Clothing House” – gift suggestions include ties, handkerchiefs, hats and sports shirts.

Newspaper advertisement – American Clothing House, 1947


Newspaper advertisement – “Announcing the Opening of Berny’s Clothing Store, 573 Main Street” with message from owner, Berny Bloom, to drop in.

Newspaper advertisement – Berny’s, 1947



From time to time features on businesses would also appear which focused on neighbourhoods, exhibitions of particular products or retrospectives at the end of the year which encouraged store owners to comment on the year just ending and the year to come.

Newspaper advertisement – “Solly’s 2nd annual January Clearance” with prices for pyjamas, gloves, sweaters and sheep-skin lined coats.

Newspaper advertisement – Solly’s, 1947


Radio advertising was rare in the early days and television advertising was non-existent – and well beyond the budget of small family-owned businesses.


Newspaper advertisement –“Barney’s Department Store is Going Out of Business” – listing of men’s and women’s clothing and shoes.

Newspaper advertisement – Barney’s Department Store, 1958


Newspaper advertisement – “Grand Department Store – North End’s Shopping Centre presents our Colossal 20th Anniversary Sale” – designed as a table with 28 squares, each with a special item.

Newspaper advertisement – Grand Department Store, 1958


Newspaper advertisement – “A Dream Come True! It’s Magnificent! Your New Calp’s Store on King’s Square is Ready for you!” – line drawing of store front and smaller drawings of store interior.

Newspaper advertisement – Calp’s, 1936


Saint John Jewish Historical Society Inc.