I am always entranced by stores which have managed to stay open for decades, and I enjoy pointing them out to you. The one thing that you can be sure of is that these places are going to offer great customer service, since that is often the reason they have managed to stand the test of time.
Joseph Schreter is the “J” in J. Schreter, and he opened his store seventy-eight years ago selling clothing and footwear for men and boys. Try to imagine opening a store in 1928 and surviving the depression, when people had no money and getting merchandise was difficult, then going through WWII, when finding wares was even more demanding. People were not interested in styles in those trying times – just having a warm coat and boots were important. After the war, there was tons of Army surplus – men’s pants, coats and boots – so Schreter scooped them up and sold them at good prices. Joseph’s son Irving eventually took over the store along with Barry Kratz, and now the business has passed on to the third generation, Irving’s sons Steve and Joey.
Leo Laurent Lozeau and his wife opened up eighty years ago, starting out doing wedding photos and film processing, and then segued into photography equipment. Their daughter Lise helped her parents out in the store, and eventually her husband, Jean Simard, came on board, and since 1973 they have been running the show. Jean Simard was always ahead of the pack, offering the first one-hour in-house laboratory in 1979, the first 90 minute e-slide lab and Quebec’s first digital lab.
Simard understands the importance of an informed customer and has been offering workshops for at least thirty years. Nowadays there are over seventy-five each month. Their staff gets up to three learning sessions a week to teach them about the new equipment that comes in. This combination of knowing what the customers will want and staff who can explain the differences in the products has kept them going all these years. Third generation Manon and Stephane are in place to keep the store going for the future.
Michael Zytynsky opened his deli in 1922 in Point St Charles, and his son Walter kept it going there until 2000 when he retired – sort of. Walter’s daughter Angel had been running a second location in Rosemont, and it didn’t take him long to get bored and go back to work part-time in her store. This summer, fourth generation Alyssa is learning the ropes. For me, this place has the best smoked meat and turkey in town.
J. Schreter, 4358 St. Laurent Blvd. at Marie-Anne St. Phone: 514-845-4231. Hours: Monday to Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m www.schreter.com The men’s and boys’ (even husky) clothing (Point Zero, Dex, Columbia, Esprit, North Face) in everything from suits to jeans and underwear (including non-iron Enro shirts), are all still here for wonderful prices. Ask for their footwear (Converse, Nike, Birkenstock, Reebok, Adidas) loyalty card in order to get $50 off on your sixth pair of shoes. Nowadays women can find workout clothes, casual things (Lady Dutch, Groggy) and undies. They have a large staff who are exceptionally helpful and can find you suspenders, one-piece long johns, handkerchiefs and even garters for men’s shirts. Don’t forget to look for the liquidation corner. The store motto, “No hassle money back guarantee”, is quite true. For camp lists and school uniforms, this joint is one stop shopping. Other location: 6361 Transcanadienne (514-630-1096).
L.L. Lozeau, 6229 St. Hubert St at Bellechasse St. Phone: 514-274-6577. Hours: Monday to Wednesday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.lozeau.com For your Pentax, Nikon and Minolta cameras, photographic supplies, lenses, tripods, filters, reflectors and camera repairs, come here to a store that’s been ahead of the trends for 80 years and has been beautifully updated in its new premises. Photo finishing, online printing, digitization, equipment rental and tons of workshops are all available as well as books, albums, frames and professional equipment.
Zytynsky’s Deli, 3350 Beaubien St. East at 12th Ave. Phone: 514-722-0826. Hours: Monday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (September-June Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). For four generations, traditions go on at this eighty-seven-year-old shop. The most popular sellers are their old-fashioned smoked meat (still made by hand in the time-honoured tradition), old-fashioned ham, knockwurst and kobassa. You will note, if you try these or any other of their fifty different deli products, that their wonderful blend of seasonings is less salty than most others around town. Do try their delicious homemade pyrohy (pierogi) filled with cottage cheese and potato, cheddar cheese and potato, sauerkraut at $5.50/dozen or cabbage rolls at $6.50/lb. Frozen pierogies by Supreme sell like hot cakes at three bags for $9.99: cottage cheese and potato, cheddar cheese and potato, sauerkraut and mushroom, blueberry and strawberry. Smart shopping deal – After you buy ten sandwiches here, the eleventh is on the house.