|Shaw Island Landing- Cindy Margritz|
The history of Shaw Island storekeepers stretches back to 1898 when Gene and Sadie Hoffman Fowler sold food and supplies from their house. In 1924 they built the store at its present site, on the water’s edge. In the early days, feed (for the many island chicken farms) and building supplies for Shaw and other islands were an important part of the store trade.
The Fowlers’ daughter, Mabel Crawford, ran the store from 1924 to the mid-1950s. Darrel Fowler was the next storekeeper. He was born in 1929 to Frank (born in 1900 on Shaw to Gene and Sadie) and Jessie Rice Fowler. Darrel’s brother, Wayne, still owns land on Shaw. A large part of Darrel’s trade was in chicken feed. He would bring in two longbed trucks full of feed twice a week.
The warehouse, adjacent to the store, was originally a cannery built for the Shaw Island Canning Company in 1912. The cannery processed salmon and produce from local farms. Later, the building was used for boat building, as well as sales of feed and lumber for the store.
In 1958 after many years in the Fowler family, the store was sold to a succession of owners. The Yansen, Leidig, and Nichols families each ran the store for a number of years. When we first arrived on Shaw, John and Geb Nichols casually ran things. One would grab supplies and if they were not around, just deposit money in a box.
|Mother Kateri at ferry ramp|
Our small store is one of the oldest businesses in the San Juan Islands and indeed in Washington State.