For 64 years, the corner of Tyee Drive and Gulf Road was anchored by a Point Roberts institution, Ben’s Store. A pillar of the community, Ben’s Store was a true general store, providing the widest array of products available in Point Roberts, from groceries to clothing to fishing licenses to tool rental to appliances.
Opened in 1928 by Icelandic immigrants Ben and Runa Thordarson, Ben’s offered extended credit to locals who were paid during fishing and agricultural harvests, at a time when there was no bank here. The back side of the store’s receipts read, “To our customers, you need your money, and I need mine. If we both get ours, it will sure be fine. But if you get yours and hold mine, too, what in the world am I going to do?”
Ben’s Store had several owners after the Thordarsons and the community’s only gas pumps in the 1970s and early 1980s. The unique assortment in Ben’s Store helped it thrive for nine years after the opening next door of a large supermarket.
The eventual closure of Ben’s Store in 1992 not only shuttered this landmark; it also marked the end of an era where small mom and pop general retail stores operated throughout Point Roberts, including stores serving intra-Point neighborhoods at Maple Beach, South Beach and the west side of the Point.
The Point Roberts Historical Society is pleased to announce a sketch of Ben’s Store adorns our newest shirt design. The shirts are labeled “Point Roberts, WA” and are available in white, tan or green t-shirts for $15, and gray or blue sweatshirts for $25.
They are available in the gift shop of the Point Roberts History Center, now open Saturdays, 12-3pm. Proceeds from shirt sales further our work in preserving and presenting our fascinating and rich history.