Before writing this post, I messaged my cousin from Big Beaver and asked him if he knew the community’s population. His response was a list which included every person in the town’s name on it—all 15 of them.
Although the population is small, Big Beaver packs a mighty punch, drawing in people from all over the province for its High School Rodeo, annual Slow Pitch tournament and various events at the community hall.
But the hamlet has one other secret weapon that has been drawing in tourists for a number of decades: Aust’s General Store.
Take one step inside the store and you will see that the slogan, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it” holds true. From groceries, clothes, toys, and hardware, to souvenir shirts, hats, cups and underwear, Aust’s General Store has everything you would ever need.
Built in 1928 and under Aust ownership for nearly 60 of those years, current owner/operator Ronnie Aust credits the store’s success to tremendous community support.
“In 80 years it (Aust’s General Store) has seen many changes and many people pass through its doors. We have had articles written about us in Maclean’s, Western Producer, Leader Post… We have been on CBC and Cowboy Country television. Because of all this free publicity we have had an influx of tourists. Our guest book shows visitors from all over the world (many have bought souvenirs and T-shirts). But most of all the longevity of our store is due to our faithful, supportive community. We would like to thank each & everyone for being a special part of our lives for the past 50 years.”