AUXILIARY NOTES: History in the making

Felicity Matthews writes monthly on behalf of the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary.

The Superfluity Shop began in a little house located on Vidal Street in 1949.

At that time, the volunteers were each asked to bring a cup and saucer to sell on opening day. In 1950, a rent-free cottage, also located on Vidal Street and owned by Dr. R.J.A. Hogg and lawyer G.W.B. Fraser, became the second Superfluity Shop.

To celebrate the opening, 200 women brought gifts, which became the first merchandise of the new store. The store was small and crowded and with anxious salespeople and eager customers, it was dangerous to set your coat down anywhere for fear it would be sold before your very eyes.

White Rock was a small community and the hospital auxiliary was a major part of the social scene. There were about 6,000 residents in White Rock in the early 1950s and when the summer renters left, it was a quiet place.

During the dark winter months, when it was cold and blustery outdoors, groups of ladies would gather and make plans to raise more funds for the hospital.

In 1951, Amy Weatherby donated a five-acre site which was donated to the hospital society to become the site of Peace Arch Hospital. Currently, a residential-care pavilion is named in her honour.

In the early days, the auxiliary rented the Star of the Sea hall once a year for their big Christmas sale. Each group within the auxiliary would have a table and sell things at the sale.

Frank and Julia Pratt worked at the shop for many years; he would do maintenance and she managed it. Everyone looked forward to the doll cradles that Frank made for the Christmas sale, and many young children were delighted with the doll clothes created by Julia.

In 1959, the property of the first superfluity was purchased. And the second shop on Vidal was erected partly by volunteer labour.

In 1979, Diane Perrie and other auxiliary members felt it was time for the Superfluity Shop to make a very bold move by purchasing some property and a building in White Rock.

There was just one problem – they had no money!

The hospital administrator of the day, Mr. Thompson, loaned the money to the auxiliary with the provision that the debt would be paid off with the proceeds of the sale of the Vidal property and the monies raised by them over the coming years.

So, Larry Colby’s plumbing shop, located at 15163 Prospect Ave., became the new Superfluity Shop. There were two businesses on the site, Larry’s plumbing business and a tire shop owned by a tenant. Shortly after the shop opened, the tenant and his tire shop moved out.

There were two large doors, which allowed vehicle access to the tire shop which the nearby furniture store, Bohn’s Furniture, wanted.

The Superfluity Shop needed a washer and dryer, so a deal was struck whereby the Superfluity Shop would exchange the doors for a washer and dryer.

Once again, sales were brisk, perhaps even too brisk for one Wes Hannah, who came to the shop one day to do some repairs. He left his tool kit in the shop and went out back for a coffee. When he returned, someone had sold his tool kit! How’s that for a quick sale?

The Superfluity Shop has been in our community since 1949 – 61 years. The monies raised through the sales at the Superfluity Shop, in addition to other auxiliary fundraisers, has helped make our hospital become the excellent facility that it is today.

Felicity Matthews writes monthly on behalf of the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary.


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