Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Bub" Kellough and Dairybest Dairy.....

Allan "Bub" Kellough, his wife Helen and their three daughters were like family to us. Helen and Bub were my parents best friends back in the early days, and as children, my sister, brother and I had stayed at their home and visa versa as needed when either sets of parents had to be out of town. To us kids, Helen, Bub and their girls were like aunt, uncle and cousins.
Bub was the owner and operator of Dairybest Dairy on the south/west corner of Dease and May Streets in Fort William from July of 1947. Bub and his brother started with their father at the Kellough Brothers dairy. After being in the armed forces during WWII, and by 1946 they had decided to start their own dairy. They purchased the property at the corner of May and Dease Streets and by 1947, the plant was in full operation. The business also contained an ice cream parlour in the front that sold directly to walk in customers.

This is how the first Dairybest Logo looked and the next picture is as the building stands today on the Dease/May corner which now houses "Beebe Mechanical Systems".
Bub picked up the milk himself in milk cans from dairy farmers in the Slate River Valley area. It was bottled originally in the blue printed bottles in half and full pints as well as quarts. I remember riding bicycles with my friends to Uncle Bub's dairy bar for a "free" half pint of chocolate or cherry milk on a hot summer day. Regular cream and whipped cream were also bottled there. Most of the daily delivery was done in Fort William, however Dairybest did have some Port Arthur customers.


Like everything else, changes had started in the dairy retail industry and Uncle Bub was always an innovator and had to be one of the first to start something new. Bub started using the newer rectangular glass bottles with the smaller neck. The above milk topper with the skirt around it was the one used for those bottles. Printed cardboard cartons also came in at this time...a half gallon one is shown below.
Here is an annual give-away by the dairy for phone numbers.
By 1960 Dairybest was producing large numbers of other products such as "Frozen Chilly Willy", sold in wax dixie cups as shown above, as well as skimmed milk, homogenized milk, light, heavy and salad cream, cottage cheese, chocolate and cherry milks, whipping cream egg nog and a variety of ice creams. They even got into packaging their own juices such as strawberry and raspberry and "Beep". Remember "Beep" orange juice?
By 1964 milk cans were no longer used, so Uncle Bub purchased a shiny new "White" tanker truck, one of the first of its kind here at The Lakehead.
In 1968 Bub opened the first "Cow Palace" store on North May Street and seven more stores were opened after that. The first black and white photo here is Uncle Bub parked in front of the newly opened "Cow Palace" store with his shiny stainless steel tank truck. The photo is how the same building looks today as 'Dusty's Car Care Centre". Most of the Dairybest products were sold through the eight Cow Palace stores in Fort William and Port Arthur. Bub was also one of the first dairy's to use the plastic jugs with the red handles and also one of the first to use plastic bag milk that we still see in supermarkets today.
By 1978 Uncle Bub was ready to retire and sold his dairy business and Cow Palace stores to the Gleesons, who were by then operating Kellough Brothers Dairy. Bub was careful to have most of his blue silk-screened glass bottles destroyed so no other dairys could used them, making them some of the most sought after bottles by collectors today.
These were great memories that both our families fondly remember to this day.
Here is a half gallon carton with the Dairybest Logo on one side, their "commitment to quality" on another side and most of their "product line" shown on the third side.
Here is a dixie-cup type lid for stawberry ice cream sold by Dairybest Products Limited and finally how a phone book ad looked in the 1960's.
Thanks to the Kellough family for a lifetime of friendship and memories, and thanks to Dave Maclean and Wayne Pettit for their book "Milk Bottles & Dairies of Thunder Bay & Area 1906-2003", which is great reading and can be found at our local museum on Donald Street.
Click on pictures to enlarge!

9 comments:

Lawrence said...

I remember that Cow Palace. I also remember when they built the new one on the same street a couple of blocks north.

It would be great if you were able to do some entries on the old corner stores that used to be everywhere. My store growing up was Ward's Confectionery on the corner of Finlayson and Syndicate.

Dave said...

Hi Lawrence - I did Smith's Confectionery on the corner of Franklin and Donald Sts... It is somewhere in my blog LOL. It is difficult however to get vintage corner store photos as no one seemed to take pictures of them. Most pictures I have of corner businesses were purely accidental and were in a photo of a family or kids etc. I do remember Wards... but I need a photo. Do you have one? Thanks for the comment...D.

Dave said...

Lawrence..If you want to check on the Smith's one..type in "Smith's" in the search box at the top left corner of this web home page and click on the little magnifying glass...D

Lawrence said...

I remember that story. I don't have an old picture of Ward's...but I did submit a CJ article about 10 years ago when they use to do the "My Neighbourhood" features. Can't remember if there was a picture or not. If I come across one I will let you know.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am Kelly Jean Mackay, named for my grandmother Jean kellough, youngerst daughter of George kellough. I'm really glad I found your site. I bet my mom could give you alot of information about Kelloughs Bros dairy.
I don't know much about Bub and Helen but I have hard Bub's name in a lot of family stories. My grandfather Frank Wilson and my great uncle Ray Gleeson took over kelloughs. My auntie margaretsold her section to Pops and uncle Ray. Pops sold to Ray's 5 boys when he retired in the 70's.
I look forward to reading the rest of your entrys.

Dave Cano said...

Hello Kelly Jean and thank you for your comments...I recognize all the names you mention, and I have a few fair condition Kellough Bros Dairy photos from the old days but looking for more to do a blog post. If you have any and would like to send them to me by email...please do so at dcan@tbaytel.net
I thoroughly enjoy all the comments to the posts...Cheers, Dave

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Lukawy family who sold our Select Foods Butcher Shop to become a Cow Palace on 106 Shuniah St. Still a great store.

Dave Cano said...

Thanks so much for this update to the post. We always appreciate new or missing information as it always helps to complete a full story post. D.

Bill Lukawy said...

My dad, uncle and Grandpa had a great store. Select Foods on 106 Shuniah St closed when I was a boy. Great place. Good memories as a Cow Palace and I'm glad it's still a running corner store.