Betty says ‘bye’

Af­ter 57 years, Betty’s store will soon be West Bay his­tory

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - FRANK GALE

His­toric busi­ness clos­ing in West Bay

WEST BAY, N.L. — The lo­cal con­ve­nience store can be the vir­tual nerve cen­tre of small com­mu­ni­ties like West Bay.

Soon, the lo­cal ser­vice district on the Port au Port Penin­sula will lose one of its most pop­u­lar gath­er­ing spots.

It was with mixed feel­ings Betty Flynn said goodbye to her store, Betty’s Gro­cery and Con­fec­tionary, she owned and op­er­ated for 57 years up un­til she left it Aug. 31.

The store is still open and run by her daugh­ter Deb­bie and hus­band, Harvie Sweezie, from Fred­er­ic­ton, N.B., it will only be for a short pe­riod.

It sad­dens Flynn to think of what will hap­pen later.

“I think it will be missed,” she said in an in­ter­view at Aca­dian Vil­lage, a re­tire­ment and as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­ity in Stephenvil­le where she now re­sides.

Af­ter some health is­sues, not to men­tion hav­ing just turned 88 last week, she felt it was time to give up keep­ing shop.

Flynn was born Betty Ward on Sept. 17, 1931 in South East Bight, Pla­cen­tia Bay. She fin­ished her school­ing in St. John’s at Lit­tledale and at­tended sum­mer school at Memo­rial Univer­sity, qual­i­fy­ing her as a teacher.

The pro­fes­sion brought her to a one-room school at Win­ter­house on the Port au Port Penin­sula back in 1950.

It was there she met her first hus­band, Matthew Lainey. They mar­ried March 29, 1951 in Lour­des and they had seven chil­dren.

It was in 1962 she de­cided to be­come an en­tre­pre­neur and she opened her con­ve­nience store called Lainey’s.

Her hus­band died in 1976. Five years later, she re­mar­ried.

Get­ting mar­ried to Gerry Flynn in 1981 gave them a blended fam­ily that in­cluded 12 adult chil­dren. Her se­cond hus­band died Sept. 20, 2012.

It was also in 1981 that Flynn changed the name of the store to Betty’s Gro­cery and Con­fec­tionary.

She said she started the busi­ness be­cause there were no other nearby stores at the time. At her lo­ca­tion, peo­ple could buy con­ve­nient items from gro­ceries to cig­a­rettes and beer to con­fec­tionary items.

She even had a gas pump for some years.

In ad­di­tion to op­er­at­ing the store, she was a busy house­wife but as the kids were grow­ing up, they’d help with the busi­ness.

She said the peo­ple of the com­mu­nity were good in sup­port­ing the busi­ness. She ad­mits to be­ing a lit­tle soft-hearted, at times let­ting peo­ple go out the door with­out pay­ing.

She re­called one star­tling in­ci­dent back in the 1980s when the bell over her door rang, but no­body was there when she went out.

A man had been hid­ing in the store and had set off the bell on his way out af­ter steal­ing the cash box.

She said the po­lice got the guy and he ended up be­ing charged.

Nor­man Benoit, who chairs the lo­cal ser­vice district of West Bay, was one of the first peo­ple in her store when she opened it

in 1962. He’s been a loyal cus­tomer and friend since.

He used to take her to bingo. In re­cent years, as she be­gan to have more trou­ble be­ing mo­bile, he helped her around the store and home, and dropped off her mail. Benoit agreed the peo­ple in West Bay will miss her store be­cause it was the place to go when you ran out of some­thing.

He said it’s more than the store that will be missed.

“Betty is a beau­ti­ful per­son,” he said. “She’s good hearted and treats every­one the same.”


Betty Flynn, who ran Betty’s Gro­cery and Con­fec­tionary in West Bay for 57 years, poses for a photo in her new room in the Aca­dian Vil­lage in Stephenvil­le.


Betty Flynn stands out­side the front door of Betty’s Gro­cery and Con­fec­tionary, the store she ran in West Bay, in this un­dated photo.


Betty Flynn at the counter of Betty’s Gro­cery and Con­fec­tionary, the store she ran in West Bay for 57 years, in this un­dated photo.

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