Previously an electrical store, Buster and Pearl Balcaen bought this building in 1952 from Larry Kemple and converted it to a clothing store. Little is known about the building prior to Balcaen’s purchase of it. As Balcaen Clothiers, it sold predominantly mens clothing as “Shirley’s Dress Shop” across the street catered mainly to women. The store itself had a small division and hosted Albert Freier’s Shoe Service, on the right side. The building has changed hands numerous times since Balcaens and its use has varied drastically each time. Rumour has it that one of these changes of ownerships was due to a high stakes poker game.
To the left of Balcaen Clothiers was the McBride Supply Company Store, which was built in 1951 and, as a two story structure, was considerably larger than the buildings around it. The Supply Company was replaced by the Alpine Café which burned down one night. The fire was significant enough to warrant the re-building of much of Balcaens clothing store, but the exterior of the building was kept very similar to the original. The Alpine Café, was never re-built.
Top: Balcaen Clothiers, Insurance office, and Rainbow Theatre. Valley Museum and Archives – Haan Fonds.
Bottom: (Left to Right): McBride’s first government Liquor store, Alpine Cafe, Balcaen Clothiers, Insurance Office and Rainbow Theatre. Valley Museum and Archives – Haan Fonds.