John England was an early photographer and jeweller in Niagara Falls South. In 1866 he opened the first photography studio in the village. His studio was on Main Street, and was a “well-equipped and handsomely furnished studio … His reputation in these lines extends all over the Dominion and the United States as well” (Daily Record, 1907). John died in 1913. The library has copies of some of John England’s photographs in our Historic Niagara Digital Collections.
George A Briggs opened a stationery store in the former England studio. He also operated the Niagara South sub post office from that location, and lived there with his wife Jennie.
In the 1940s, Penn Stationers took over the business. Penn was a fixture in the busy Main & Ferry business district for many years. Ownership changed hands from Ken Bradfield to Donna and Fred Reece in 1978. They carried office furniture & equipment, giftware, Hallmark Cards; they printed custom made items such as wedding invitations, and continued to have a sub post office located onsite.
The recession of the 1980s took a toll on businesses in the city. Beatties Stationery, which owned several other stores in the Niagara Region, leased the building in 1988, but closed it in 1991. Company president Ted Hoxie blamed the recession and free trade, which was allowing his customers to shop across the river to shop in the U.S. The sub post office was also shut down.
5942 Main Street was the new home for the Salvation Army Thrift Store in 1992. Donated clothing, furniture and other items were sold at reduced rates to people in need. The Salvation Army still operates a Thrift Store, but today (2018) the Main Street storefront has been vacant for many years.