Harry Weaver and Bud Devore met in the Peace River country in the early 1920s. They became fast friends and formed a partnership. Their first venture was the Beulah Boat Company, which freighted goods to farmers who lived along the Peace River and provided transportation for early settlers and livestock in need of travel up river.
In 1934 they used their push-boat to freight dry goods and hardware from Peace River to Great Bear Lake via the Peace, Slave, MacKenzie and Great Bear rivers. They spent one year frozen at Great Bear Lake. Throughout the winter they trapped and traded with the local natives. They returned to Peace River via air transportation in 1935 with the intention of returning to Great Bear Lake. They restocked the Beulah 3 and spent the winter in Lake Athabaska. The discovery of gold in 1934 and the staking of claims from Con Mines in 1935 changed their destination to Yellowknife’s Back Bay.
In the spring of 1936 Harry and Bud sailed their barges full of goods into Yellowknife Bay and Weaver & Devore Trading Ltd. was born. Harry sold goods out of one of the barges while Bud and Mickey Hagen built the store out of logs from Fort Resolution. Bud was a master carpenter and he also used the lumber from the barge’s deck to make the floor of the store.
Harry and Bud operated the store together from 1936 to 1954. During that time period they outfitted prospectors, mining camps, fishermen, and hunters with supplies, clothing, hardware, groceries and the staples of life. They bought and sold fur from local trappers, which was auctioned at the Edmonton Fur Auction.
Bud and Harry were very interested in the mining industry. They played the stock market and also dabbled in staking and promoting their mining claims. They were the first to stake claims at Ryan Lake.
In 1955 Bud sold his interest to Harry’s son, Bruce, who was married to Irma. Harry and Bruce operated the store together, with Bruce assuming a dominant role until 1957 when Harry died. It was very fitting that Harry passed away in his bed, which was upstairs in the store. Bud lived with Harry’s son, Don, in Peace River, to a ripe old age of 95. Bruce and Irma ran the store until Bruce’s untimely death in 1975.
By this time Bruce and Irma had eight children, Ken, Bill, Bud, Bob, Robbie, David, Dallas and Terra. From 1975 to the present time the store has been – and continues to be – a thriving family business. Irma assumed the dominant role in 1975. She provided her family with the leadership, experience and guidance required to continue operating the store until she retired in 1995. Irma passed away peacefully in 2005.
As Yellowknife grew, so did Weaver & Devore Trading Ltd. Irma and her family expanded by adding the purchase of Territorial Beverages in 1978. Weaver & Devore Trading Ltd. continues to service all the mining industry as their forefathers had done. To this day, they service exploration camps, operating mines, hunting camps and fishing camps. Weaver & Devore, as an old time general store carrying the practical inventories of warm winter clothing, camps supplies and many staple items, has won the support of northern consumers across the north. Many first time visitors and returning customers enjoy visiting the first general store located in Old Town, Yellowknife. Ken, Bud, and David run their various departments and manage Weaver & Devore Trading Ltd., while Bob, Bill, Dallas and Terra manage and operate affiliated Territorial Beverages (Pepsi). Robbie, still maintaining her ownership share in the family business, moved to British Columbia after working in the store for many years. She still contributes by working at several trade shows each year.