The store is now owned by the fourth generation of the Fairbank family: (J.H. Fairbank, then Dr. or Major Charles Fairbank, then Charles Fairbank Sr., and Charlie became owner in 1982.) Although these men owned the business, they left the running of it in the capable hands of others while they pursued interests in oil, politics and other businesses. The one exception was Charles Fairbank Sr. who took the helm in the early 1930s as the Depression hit and he strode to work daily in his tie until his death in 1982.
Van Tuyl had proved to be a very gifted manager and from 1874 to 1900 he brilliantly grew the store to be the largest hardware west of Toronto. This would be an important partnership and J.H. put so much faith in Van Tuyl that for the first time, he let his partner’s name have greater prominence than his own. Out of gratitude to Van Tuyl, the store name kept his name after he died.
Tougher times lay ahead and managers G.S. Pitkin and Thomas Rainsberry grappled with new challenges. Charles Fairbank Sr. followed as manager through some of the most difficult times for the town, the store and the family. After his son Charlie became the owner in 1982, Ron Brand took the reigns and had the unenviable job of introducing computers to the store. In 1998, young David Taylor was manager for three years before becoming Project Manager for Fairbank Oil. In 2001, Theresa MacDonald broke history by becoming the first female manager ever and she continues to be the superb manager today.
Pictured Right: Charles Fairbank Sr. managed the store for roughly 50 years, beginning in the early 1930s.