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Mr. Schurman's storeThe Schurman Building Supplies company is undoubtedly the success story of Kensington's business history. Today, the Schurman store is a familiar and indispensable fixture in towns across the Island, and in Kensington especially, it is admired as an example of the town's spirit of industry and enterprise. The involvement of the Schurman family in construction can be dated back all the way to the eighteenth century. A Loyalist fleeing the American Revolution, William Schurman made his way to Bedeque, P.E.I., where he began two lumber mills, built small ships, and also constructed a road to Charlottetown.

Portrait of Maynard Freeman Schurman. A great-grandson of William Schurman, Maynard Freeman Schurman was born in Freetown, Prince Edward Island in 1863. In 1888, he was offered the position of manager with Schurman, Clark, and Co. woodworkers and builders. However, the position only paid two hundred and fifty dollars a year, and Schurman steadfastly demanded not a penny less than four hundred. Like many Islanders before and after him, he determined that he would have to leave the Island to achieve his ambitions. He journeyed to Colorado and accumulated both experience and savings by working on the building of the Colorado Midland Railway. In 1891, the Schurman Clark company sent another offer to him in Colorado, finally meeting his salary demands. While he was by that time making more money in Colorado, Schurman accepted the call back East and dedicated himself to doing business in his Island home.

Mr. Schurman's store Schurman's ascent through the ranks of the company was swift. By 1896, he had bought out the Kensington branch of the lumber and coal business. His first contract was for the new Methodist church in Margate, touching off a string of successful projects for the firm. His brother Major entered into business with him in 1902. By 1907, the prosperous company incorporated and bought out the largest lumber business in Summerside, where it still has its head office today.

M. F. Schurman passed away in 1952. The presidency was assumed by his son Harold, who had himself risen from within the company, serving as a truck driver, machine operator, and plant foreman before assuming the helm. Descendants of M. F. Schurman still own the company.

It is unlikely that Schurman would even recognize his operation today, as it has expanded greatly and diversified into all areas of the construction industry. At one point, Schurman's owned its own truss and window-making operations and also a ready-mix cement plant. Recently, it was involved in the megaproject of constructing the Island's link to the mainland, the Confederation Bridge. The stores which dot P.E.I. offer the customer anything from furniture to lawn ornaments. But some things have not changed: a Schurman's store still stands on Broadway Street Kensington, ready to serve construction needs both large and small.

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