Tuesday, 14 August 2012


From a 2006 Interview with his daughter, Doris.

Nipigon Historical Museum Archives

"I know my father came to Canada in 1922."

"My Great Uncle had a farm in Hurkett and he needed one of the boys from my father's family (there were ten children). My father, being the most adventuresome agreed to come as a labourer farm boy."

"He travelled from Austria to Germany and then across that big ocean to Halifax. When he got to Halifax he had spent what little money he had on the boat. The immigration people didn't know quite what to do with him. He says they gave him a loaf of bread and a roll of garlic sausage and put him on the train for Hurkett."

Florian never got interested in farming. He tried working for Ontario Hydro putting in the new line from Alexander to Port Arthur. Then he worked a bit for the railway. What he really liked was working in a grocery store, which he did in Hurkett. In 1930 he became a Canadian citizen and in 1932 he married.

"My father came to Nipigon to work for E.C. Everett." (1936) " We lived in one room behind the store."

"Life was quite difficult then until my my parents decided to put an apartment in behind the store, then things  were a little better. We had four bedrooms back there but every time my father wanted to expand the store I lost a little more of my bedroom."

"My Dad was working for Everett in this particular store, probably about where the theatre is now, then, E.C. somehow got another store down the street where the pharmacy is now and E.C. went down to that store and my Dad stayed ."

" My father was doing a better business than E.C.. Then E.C. made my Dad go down to the other store that was not doing so well. So, after Dad started running that store he decided he was going to buy it and he made two or three payments to E.C. before he realized that E.C. didn't even own the store! My Dad laughed about that so many times."

"So, my Dad bought that store. The Royal Bank was right beside it and there was a furrier, Anderson Furrier.  He ended up buying them all. That's what the Drug Store is comprised of now and Dad also had a store in the basement. It had a big staircase you went down on. He had dry-goods and groceries on the main floor and down below he had hardware...that came after a few years

".Dad was the butcher of the store and he built up the business by being the butcher. He was always so good natured and he was always whistling and laughing and happy. He loved his job and was always up in the morning whistling and cutting meat. We lived right behind and we woke up to that every morning and it was wonderful."

Florian built a temporary store at pine Portage during the dam construction and he had Gordon Waghorn run that. Florian also exported Blueberries to the Poplar Canning Company in Poplar Wisconsin. In 1950 Florian built the Liquor Store on Third Street leased to the LCBO. In 1958 he built the Royal Bank building ,( now used by an Insurance Company), and leased it to the Royal Bank. He bought the old Consumers' Co-Op building on Railway Street and moved his hardware business there with Uno Mannila as manager.( Beside that building is the "new " Zechners' Store built in his lifetime.) Soon he became the sole owner of the Beaver Motel on Highway 17.

Florian died in 1987.

This year , 2012, marks the 75th anniversary of "Zechners" store in Nipigon. A FAMILY, now into the fourth generation, that has stayed and helped build a community, Nipigon.

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