H.R French was born in Scotstown, Quebec, on March 10, 1890. In 1909, Mr. French moved to Wetaskiwin to work in C.C. Bailey's jewellery store. In 1914 Mr. French partnered with a Mr. Thomas and bought the jewellery store. In 1921, after returning from serving overseas, Mr. French bought out Mr. Thomas and took over sole proprietorship of the store, renaming it French's Jewellery Store.
Mr. French also practiced as an optometrist. In 1920, Mr. French married Anne Angus, the daughter of R.M. Angus, a prominent local citizen and former mayor of Wetaskiwin. The Frenches had two sons, Charles Roderick (Rod) and Malcolm (Mac). Rod took over his father's optometrist business while Mac took over the family jewellery store.
When Mr. French wanted to retire, the store was purchased by its current owners.
One of North America’s Coolest Stores
Wetaskiwin is now officially home to one of the coolest stores in North America, according to Instore Magazine. In 2015, we received an honorable mention and a spread in their May issue.