A Quick History of the Duhamel Store at 6-mile
by Sharry Heighton
The first to put a store on the corner of Highway 3A and Greenwood Road was Louis Selzer and his family. He owned the then Willow Point Motel on that lot. He started building in 1972, with a small store of about 500 square feet.
Jan and Ali Jonker purchased the property and expanded the store. They had an apartment in the back, where you could smell Ali’s suppers cooking. I’m sure that helped business! Jan also worked as janitor at Safeway in Nelson and was able to collect many shelves, mats, fixtures, when discarded by his employer (evident even today). Their two children, Dirk and Berdeen were raised in the store and helped out alot. It was a family business. The motel was busy. There was also a campground and small trailer park on Greenwood Road. The Jonkers added a second story – a 3 bedroom apartment. The Jonkers held square dance parties on the large covered deck they’d built on the front. They had an intercom system installed throughout the house and down stairs.
When Horans built the Willow Bay Motel next door, the name was changed to Duhamel Store and Motel, to stop any confusion. It was also in the hayday of Duhamel Recreation Commission and people had started using Duhamel as a landmark instead of the Willow Point of old.
After about 20 years, the store was sold to two families, the McMurrays and the Latremouille’s. After 5 years of work, the two couples subdivided off the back portion for two lots for themselves and they built two homes for themselves along Greenwood Road.
In 1994 Jack and Sharry Heighton and Lew and Joan Jordon bought the Duhamel store (the wives are sisters). After 3 years, the Heightons bought out the Jordans and continued for another 14 years. In that time the Motel portion was closed down to be monthly rentals. Two original homes on the same property title were also rented.
In 2011, a Polish couple approached the Heightons to buy the business. It was settled on the deck within an hour with a bottle of wine to celebrate. Les Dziecielski and Monika Swiatkiewicz are still managing the store and grounds as owner operaters.