The Village of Clive’s lumber yard may not hold lumber at the back of a hardware store like it once did, but residents celebrated its 100th birthday all the same.
Last Thursday, over 40 people came out to the building – now Elite Treasure Chest, a volunteer-run thrift store – to mark the occasion with pie, coffee, music and speeches from past building owners.
“It’s a very big day. We’re so pleased with the turnout – it’s been tremendous,” said Avis Sayers who’s with the Clive and Area Cultural Historical Society. “We’re really pleased to celebrate 100 years and have the community come together for a party.”
The lumber yard building was built in 1919 and is actually one of few left standing in the country, with many having been torn down due to poor maintenance as consumers shifted from local lumber yards to big box stores.
What makes Clive’s more significant, however, is the fact that despite being an entirely wooden structure, it has survived more than one fire that threatened to raze the whole community.
“There were three fires that destroyed most of the village, so to have a wooden structure that actually survived, we think, is monumental,” Sayers said.
The building remained a lumber yard until 2005, then became a gym. Eventually, the gym had to close, and the building fell into the hands of what was then the Valley Thrift Shoppe, and turned into Elite Treasure Chest, which has now been in the main street location north of the post office for three years.
Once-thift shop coordinator and now Lacombe resident Louise Bell said: “it was like a gift when we found out we got to open a big thrift store.
“The community absolutely loves it – they would be very sad if the door closed on their thrift store.”
Being located in a lumber yard no longer used for its intended purpose serves to drive home the importance of shopping local and supporting local businesses, too.
“Whether you’ve bought a sweater or a bag, you have helped your thrift store,” Bell said. “It’s a real community spirit building.”