RETAIL IN ST JOHNSTON
St Johnston had fifteen shops in the sixties but only four shops, McCauleys Newsagents, a grocery shop, Golden's, Briget's Clothes shop and Martin Golden's Furniture Store was left of these in the eighties.
What used to be Martin Golden’s Furniture Store, was Gallaghers before he took over. They had a big shop there, Wellingtons, fishing gear, some clothes, and groceries were sold there. The Gallaghers left for Tyrone in the early sixties. Martin Golden came from Sligo and was married to Bridget Gillespie from Ballybofey. Bridget herself ran a clothes shop called Brigid's next door to where Patterson's Shoe Shop was.
Up Church Lane, there was McConnells Shop. The paintwork outside read, "Andrew McConnell, General Merchant".
Joe’s Bar, St Johnston belongs to Madeline McCann’s grandmother, Eileen McCann. On the early hours of St Patrick’s Day, 2008, the pub was raided for the 12th time. The thieves rammed in the back door of the pub and took all the stock they could get barring a bottle of gin. They turned on the beer taps to let the beer run out. Joe discovered the damage and the back door lying in the garden when he checked on the pub after 7.30 am Lenten Mass. Eileen McCann was the wife of the late John and they ran the pub under the name of McCann’s Bar and there was a living quarters then above the pub. They decided to lease it to Joe 27 years ago. Mrs McCann had been in the area and visited the pub at the weekend. The pub had been ram raided in November 2007 when Joe was in the hospital at the time. After that incident, a steel security door had been put up.
Kathleen McDonald (nee Peoples), Sadie Peoples who became Sadie Moore (nee Gibson), Paul O’ Kane, Thomas Curran, were among those who served behind the bar in Joe’s Bar. Ann McNulty works there today.
Gillespie's Post Office was burned out in January 1996 early in the evening. This building was renovated and served as Post Office until 2007.
There was a telephone box for years in front of Gillespie's Post Office. More recently, the phone box was relocated to where the Post Office is now. Eircom removed the telephone box altogether from the town on Tuesday, 30 June 2009.
Ciss McLaughlin used to live in what is currently the Fisherman's Inn, St Johnston. She used to be a dressmaker. After she died, Oliver Duddy bought the house and it became the Fisherman's Inn.
The following local men used to go to 11.00 am Mass on a Sunday morning and then head to Richie’s, Lynch’s Bar, and head home on their bicycles about 4.00 pm. Hugh Gormley, Farmer Sheils and Dan Matthewson were known to have done this. Toland's Bar and McCann's bar were also popular destinations.
Golden's Shop was converted into the new Post Office. This Post Office opened up in November 2008.
In the 1950's, when you bought porridge oats, sugar or washing soda, the retail assistant or shopkeeper used stiff black paper bags to put them into.
The Derry People, Donegal News, Saturday 4 April 1970 reported:
St. Johnston shop is damaged
Derry firemen spent six hours at a fire in a grocer's shop in St Johnston on Tuesday morning.
The fire was in Toland's grocery shop St. Johnston and three quarters of the top floor was completely destroyed and a large quantity of stock damaged.
When the firemen arrived at the scene at 2 a.m. it was thought that people had been trapped in the building but after investigation everyone was accounted for.