Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Winter 2020-21 Edition - Page 15

After the 1904 fire , the new Trites-Wood Building featured an impressive sandstone façade , and stocked the finest stoves , furnishings , clothing , homewares and more .
After the 1908 fire . The Trites-Wood store was lost but the business forged on .
A temporary wooden structure and a series of fireproof cellars provided service to the community during the winter of 1908 while a new store was constructed
Heritage buildings were not popular in the 1970 ’ s . The Sombrowski family added shingles for a modern look after they purchased the business . commercial building . J . F . Spalding , who went on to document Fernie through his photographs and later work as the Tourism Commissioner for the Tourist Association of Southern Alberta and Southeastern British Columbia , arrived in Fernie in March 1904 to take the position of bookkeeper at the company ’ s Morrissey store . He purchased the A . W . Prest Photography studio in 1905 .
In 1922 , A . B . Trites and R . W . Wood left Fernie to pursue other business endeavours . Together , they became millionaires with an investment in the Premier Mine , and Trites also went on to become notable in the Dairy Industry with ranches across Western Canada . The store was left in the care of the Stewart family , who continued to run the business after the deaths of Mr Wood in 1935 and Mr Trites in 1943 .
In 1970 , Arthur and Ingrid Sombrowski purchased the 2nd Avenue location and it has remained within the family for the past 50 years . They have run their own store the entire time , leasing out other parts of the building which have over the years been occupied by furniture , general goods , hardware , décor and sporting goods stores , and a hair studio and art gallery , among others . On the second floor and at the rear of the building is the Fernie Academy .
Through fires , wars , the great depression and the boom years of the 50 ’ s and 70 ’ s , this building has not only been a constant business presence in Fernie , it has also been a consistent employer and locally owned retailer of many of life ’ s essentials .