Alf Ririe and Marj Balderson, people from the store like Johnny Bourne and Junior Turner are spoken of with legendary status.
For a small community store, customers could find things at the Trading Company that just were not available anywhere else.
Ken Robinson, originally of Del Bonita and now living in Magrath, remembers when he couldn’t find any place in southern Alberta to buy horseshoes, not even Lethbridge, but he could find them at the Trading Company. Some of the old horseshoes are now in the Trading Company display.
Marietta Wilcox says the same was true for fabric. Originally of Del Bonita, her mother always stopped at the Trading Company as it had the best fabric. “You couldn’t get tricot anywhere else.”
George Harker relates that when he was three or four years old he found a penny on the road. At the Trading Company he could buy three fishhooks for a penny or four hooks for a penny. He remembers he bought three because “the ones that were four for a penny looked too small to catch any fish.”
Duane Thomson says you could find anything you wanted at the Trading Company or Johnny Bourne would order it in for you. While working at the Research Centre in Lethbridge, he knew if they couldn’t find something they needed in Lethbridge they could get it from the Trading Company.
A few years after Duane married, he moved back to Magrath with his young family. His wife Carma remembers being welcomed to town at the Trading Company. “Johnny Bourne said hi and said I must be Duane Thomson’s wife. ‘What’s your name? Where are you from? Who’re your parents? When’s your birthday?’ And of course he remembered my birthday from then on. He gave the kids candy, and we felt genuinely welcomed into the community.”
Patricia Dudley says when her children were young, one of her boys came home from the Trading Company with something he had not paid for. She took him back to the store to return the item and the boy got a “talking to” from Junior Turner. Rather then scolding him, he told him that the Dudley name is a very honoured name in Magrath and he needed to live up to the family name. Patricia expressed how grateful she was for how Junior handled that situation, and the lesson stuck with her son.
Seeing a display in the exhibit representing the butcher department, Donna Thompson remembered working there as a youth. “Wrapping the liver was the worst,” she said, recalling how the meat would slip around in the brown paper packaging and demonstrating the technique to wrap it quickly and keep it from falling out on the counter. “I really wanted to get transferred to the ladies’ clothing department.” No luck with that, but she did get moved to the grocery floor.
As part of the family that ran the Trading Company, Wes Balderson says that as he grew up he remembers talk about the store being dinner table conversation. His wife Lorraine says, “I don’t think the kids thought groceries cost any money. They didn’t know that dad later got the bill for it.”