Not that long ago a group of Salmon Arm Museum fundraisers were looking for help with the construction of the Montebello building. They were raising money for a single structure that would complete R.J. Haney Heritage Village. The building was to look like the downtown core of Salmon Arm a long time ago – fronted by nine businesses that depicted the historic community. There was to be a place to cash a cheque, purchase dry goods, mail a letter, get a haircut, buy a newspaper, play a game of pool, and buy a new hat. Once the visitor had completed his or her errands and stopped in at each of the exhibit shops, there was going to be an opportunity to have their portrait taken at the Studio. Rex Lingford or W.J. Honey would be the photographers in residence there. 

The nine businesses were part of a well thought-out plan. They would give context to the collection of buildings that were there already… the church, school, blacksmith shop, fire hall, filling station, and garage all needed a community to feel right.

The fundraisers from the Village were on a mission. They needed money. They would have promised anything.

 Salmon Arm Meat and Produce on Alexander Ave.  
  Salmon Arm Meat and Produce, mid-block   on  the east side of Alexander Ave.
   

Someone in the group must have felt that David Askew, his sister Colleen, and her husband Jack Davis would be willing to help with the project. The three were asked to a meeting.  The Haney representatives made their pitch. One of the fundraisers wanted to close the sale. He offered to include a butcher shop display that told the Askew’s Foods history.

It was a good thing I had not been invited to the meeting! Our exhibits were to be set in the first two decades of the last century. We had a timeline in the village – nothing later than 1929. I had a plan.

Luckily David Askew knew his family’s business history! He corrected my wayward board member, saying that the story that should be told was that of the Palmer Family’s butcher shop, the successful enterprise that R.B. (Dick) Askew purchased.

David could not have been more right. His grandfather bought E.A. Palmer’s in 1929. In 1934 R.B. Askew must have felt a rebranding was in order so he held a naming contest. The company became The Salmon Arm Meat and Produce Company. It wasn’t until 1967 and the construction of a new supermarket that the business became known as Askew’s.

Thank you Askew’s Foods and the Askew family for your generous gift of $100,000 towards the construction of the Montebello Museum. Thank you also, David Askew, for insisting we keep our stories accurate.

Photograph by Don Grabowecki. Askew's at the Shuswap Park Mall.