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James Reid Limited
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James Reid Furniture, now James Reid Limited, was founded in 1854,* by James Reid (1829-1900), an Irish immigrant of Scottish descent. While still an infant, Reid arrived in the Kingston area in 1831. He would first work on a farm on the Gore Rd. located north of Barriefield before taking up furniture making, possibly after apprenticing with cabinet maker Elijah Conklin (also spelled Conklan), whose daughter, Christianna, Reid would marry in 1856.
Reid established his business in a former tavern at 254-256 Princess St., with a furniture showroom on Princess St., and his workshops and storehouses filling in the back part of the lot towards Brock St. In addition to being an upholsterer and manufacturing and selling furniture, Reid was a casket-maker, undertaker and embalmer. The company would later also provide ambulance services. The business would expand to the neighbouring building, the Orpheum/Griffin Theatre at 250-252 Princess St in 1922 and, in 1973, James Reid opened a second funeral home, followed by a second furniture store in 1979, both on John Counter Boulevard (then known as Counter St.), in the village of Cataraqui, located then just outside the Kingston city limits, but now part of the amalgamated city. The Princess St. funeral home closed in 1990 and fine furniture showroom expanded into that space.
James and Christianna Reid had 12 children, six boys and six girls, all of whom worked for the family business. Following the death of James Reid in 1900, their eldest son Robert J. Reid would run James Reid Ltd. for a year before opening his own furniture shop and undertaking business at 222 Princess St. in 1901. The business was then run by three other of James Reids sons - Samuel (1868-1934), Francis C. (Frank) (1870-1955), and Frederick C. Reid (1880-1968). Fredericks son James W. (1914-1997) would be brought into the business, followed by his children James [aka Jim] F. Reid, David W. Reid & Barbara J. Reid (d. 2004). Since 1997, Jim Reid serves as the company president and David W. Reid is the vice-president. Jim Reids daughter Sarah Hedberg works in the Funeral Home in Bereavement Support program.
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