Mother, daughter retire after 41 years working together
For 41 years, Dola Parsons and her daughter Rosanne Flight have worked together, side by side, running the family store in Southern Harbour.
On Saturday, Parsons, 78, and Flight, 52, will retire and will lock the doors of L. Parsons and Sons for the final time.
They've worked together in the store that has been the only game in town for more than four decades.
Many customers have said the store "has a little bit of everything," and has sold a myriad of items during its life.
Parsons said they started out selling furniture.
"Well, we needed the store here and it was something for me to do. I had nine children and the baby was a year old when I started the store. First we sold furniture, dry goods, we had gas. So we were quite busy," she said.
"My children grew up here in the store. When they were a week, two weeks old, I brought them here in the stroller, had them inside the counter with me. Loved it, loved it. I was never bored and I was just so happy that I could have my children (there). My husband is a truck driver, so he was away a lot. It didn't bother anyone, [customers] loved to see the children and they enjoyed being here. It worked out great."
The business quickly became a big part of the community.
"We had two delivery vans delivering groceries, you know. For the seniors, [we'd] pick up the seniors, they pick up their groceries and then [we'd] bring them home. A lot of the older people used to come here, we had a stool there by the window and they'd just come in, sit by the window. They could sit there for hours, just telling us jokes and just to pass their day away. We enjoyed them coming."
Customers who became friends
Anne Hickey, who has been shopping at L. Parsons and Sons for years, said she will miss the store — and her chats with Dola and Rosanne.
"I used to buy all of my Christmas stuff here ... she [Dola] used to have all those nice ornaments. I'm going to miss that. Going to miss everything about it," said Hickey.
"My children came here when they were tiny going to school. My grandchildren come here ... but you couldn't hope to meet two nicer people. And those days when I'd come here, I'd be a little bit off, and we'd talk and laugh and by the time I'd leave, I was in a good mood again."
The store's closing will be an adjustment for the community of 534.
The nearest general store is in Arnold's Cove, which is 15 to 20 minutes away from Southern Harbour.
Parsons said the store is not shutting down because of a lack of business.
"Oh, it's time for me to retire don't you think? I'm not getting any younger. I said, 'I'll just keep on going for another few years,' then we decided, myself and Rosanne, that we would retire together. So that's what we done."
Flight began working at the store when she was 12. Her part-time job turned into a career.
But she said it didn't always come easy.
"We had to sacrifice a lot, you know ... to keep everything, to be able to, to have this store," Flight said.
'My children grew up here in the store.' - Dola Parsons
"And it was just the two of us to work, you know what I mean? If she [Dola] had to go somewhere on a holiday, she went and I worked. Like that, we took turns. But it was a lot of hours. You work from nine till nine every day, six days a week. You had to put in a lot of hours. There were a lot of things you couldn't do that you would have liked to do. There's lots of times you'd like to go for a walk and you just don't have the time. You got to pack the shelves. That's where you got your exercise."
Flight is looking forward to having her first Christmas Eve off in 41 years, and not having a schedule.
Once they retire, Parsons and Flight said they have lots on their agenda.
"We're supposed to go on a trip next Wednesday to New York, if everything works out. Sight-seeing, shopping, a couple of concerts we're going to see. Pink and Mamma Mia."