Reinvention is key to Stratford business’ success

Reinvention is key to Stratford business’ success

A Stratford business is celebrating its diamond anniversary.

Not only is it still going strong after 75 years, but the family is finding new ways to keep its legacy going.

Stan Blowes opened the doors to his book store on March 31, 1949.

“My grandfather started the business and then my father took over and I was fortunate enough to be the third generation,” explained Brian Blowes.

“They did everything to survive and my dad had this little travel counter… they sold airline tickets and steamship tickets,” added Sam Blowes.

Reinvention is key to Stratford business’ successBrian Blowes holding a newspaper announcement of his family’s purchase of the Stratford business. (Ashley Bacon/CTV Kitchener)

The book store transformed into it’s current iteration – Blowes Cards & Gifts & Office Supplies, as well as a Blowes Travel Agency next door.

“We’ve been good to the community but the community has been better to us in the long run,” said Sam.

Although there have been highs and lows like any other business over the last 75 years, not even the Covid-19 pandemic could break the spirts of the family.

“I even had a couple of good clients that would call me every few weeks and just say: ‘Hey, how’s it going? How are you doing?’” explained Rob Blowes, the owner of Blowes Travel Agency. “They actually cared that you were getting through Covid and, you know, we just really had to fight to survive.”

Newspaper announcement of Stan Blowes’ takeover of the Stratford store.

The family business is now looking to expand.

Brian Blowes is renovating the building’s upstairs apartments that have been sitting vacant for decades.

“It was quite a time capsule up there,” he said. “It had been empty since about 1951. It was apartments, a hotel originally, and then apartments.”

They hope to list the 11 apartments for rent sometime later this year.

It’s just another venture for this next generation.

“I hope we last another 75 years,” Sam Blowes added.