M. O’Donnell & Sons – Yesterday’s superstore today

M. O'Donnell & Sons

M. O’Donnell & Sons

During our recent stay on the west coast of Devon, close to the borders of Cornwall, we visited the village of Hartland. It’s a rather quaint little place and for the most part unspoilt, which I rather liked.

It had very few shops but one which did attract my eye was ‘M. O’Donnell & Sons’. In the left hand window there was a small selection of fruit and veg, whilst to the right there were some woollen hats, a knitted scarf, a few buttons and other items of haberdashery for sale. The notices in the door were up to date – Not to be missed, the ‘Strawberry Tea’ which was coming up on the 1st July. There was no state of the art spotlighting, just a couple of bare light bulbs and a small fluorescent tube to illuminate the interior of this double fronted shop. The bay windows were in a poor state of repair, and everything including the sign above the door needed a fresh lick of paint. Had it been in pristine condition it would not have had the  character or the appeal which enticed me to take a photograph in the first place.

It made me think that in its time it would have been the ‘local superstore’ of its day, selling a variety of things which you probably couldn’t easily buy elsewhere in the village.  Local residents would have been eternally grateful to the O’Donnell family, as this little shop would have prevented a long journey into the nearest main town. I don’t know, but perhaps the present community feel the same way and continue to support the shop, after all it would be rather sad to see it close, wouldn’t it?

Do click on the image to see a larger version, only then will you be able to see some of the items for sale in the windows.



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