End of an era: Randall’s Stationery sign taken down from Kingston Road store

Members of the extended Randall family were on hand for the taking down of the iconic sign in front of the Kingston Road store on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 11. Inset photos show HaeKyung Shin and husband JinWoo Lee, with flowers on their last day of business at the store on Tuesday; the new look of Kingston Road without the sign; and a final photo with the Kingston Rd. Market sign. Photos by Alan Shackleton.


Wednesday was an emotional day on Kingston Road as the Randall’s Stationery era officially came to an end with the taking down of the iconic sign in front of the store located just west of Scarborough Road.

Founded in 1934 by the Randall family, the store has been operated since 2003 by JinWoo Lee and HaeKyung Shin who bought it from the family at that time.

The couple, originally from Korea, sold the store earlier this year and their last day of business was on Tuesday, Sept. 10. They wrapped up their closing sale and invited the community in for tea and cookies, receiving well wishes from their many customers and friends from area businesses including presentations of flowers and cards.

The couple, who also lived above the store and raised their children in the community, are retiring and moving to North York.

Over the years, they have maintained a close relationship with members of the Randall family still living in the area, and it was agreed that the family could remove the iconic sign from the store once it was closed.

And that sign removal took place shortly after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Four generations of the Randall family were on hand for the sign removal, and many passersby stopped to watch, wish them well and take photos.

“It’s tough,” admitted Doug Newton just before climbing one of the ladders and helping his cousin Don Randall begin taking the sign down.

“We all grew up here. We all worked in the store, so there’s a lot of strong memories here from a family perspective.”

For decades the store was run by Ted Randall, who died in May of this year at the age of 88 in Oshawa. Ted was the second generation of the Randall family to run the store, and he was a force in the Beach community from both a business and a volunteer perspective. (For more on Ted Randall’s legacy, please read his obituary at https://beachmetro.com/2019/06/11/obituary-beach-icon-ted-randall-remembered/ )

Don, also one of Ted’s nephews, and Karen Simms, Ted’s niece, joked that along with Ted’s son Jeff they were known as TL (Ted Labour) in their family.

“I can remember hauling boxes of books up from the basement, and then helping students find their books,” Don remembered on Wednesday evening.

And what is going to happen to the sign that has been the part of so many local residents lives over the years, and a favourite go-to (along with the Kingston Rd. Market sign) for photographers and artists looking to capture a classic Beach scene?

It is going to be proudly mounted and displayed on the bunkhouse at Don’s cottage in Haliburton, where family members often gather and now will remember the era of Randall’s Stationery.

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