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Cooke’s – a taste of history


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In 1910, my grandfather, Hugh G. Cooke, came to work for the then second owners, the Henderson Brothers. When you visit the store (Kingston location) you will see the stained-glass sign bearing their name over the door. He apprenticed for four years before he was allowed to serve a customer. In 1924 he purchased the business after the brothers had both died, and changed the name to Cooke’s. My grandfather had quite a vision for his business, he wanted to offer to his customers the finest of foods and the best service. For years the store delivered groceries (up until 1978) to those customers that wished to place their orders by phone. Cooke’s installed the 4th phone in the City because the other phones were owned by customers! We still have that phone on display in the shop.

In the early years of his ownership, products were shipped along with wonderful props to help in their merchandising. My grandfather was very thrifty and kept all of these props, and we have some wonderful items on display. During WWII, we had customers that wished to ship items overseas to their husbands and sons, our mail order business was born! We have been shipping products around the world ever since.

My grandfather’s motto was “If we don’t have it, we’ll get it for you”. We still try to do that to this day. We have been known for having some unusual products over the years. I can remember the tiny boxes of “Chocolate Covered Baby Bees” and “Deep-fried Grasshoppers” as well as tins of “Rattlesnake Meat”. Unfortunately, items such as these do not meet government standards and are no longer imported. Cooke’s has a wide variety of products, what you see on the website are just a few.

Generations of families have shopped here and we love it when people tell us that their grandmother brought them in when they were children. Many people still remember my grandfather, Hugh G., as well as my father John, and hopefully in 40 or so years they’ll tell my children that they remember me.

~ Susan D. Cooke

Visit Cooke’s Fine Foods online

PICTON – 202 Main St., Picton, Ontario   613.476.2888
KINGSTON – 61 Brock St., Kingston, Ontario   613.548.7721

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