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About Us

100% owned and operated by Newfoundlanders since our establishment in 1840, Dicks and Company Basics continues to specialize in the office products, business machines, and printing trades. Our main distribution centre, located in St. John's, is a 30,000 square foot facility with over 10,000 different products in stock. Dicks and Company Basics' head office is also in St. John's and we have branch offices in Carbonear and Grand Falls-Windsor. We have more than 80 employees and over 30 of these people have 10+ years of service with us.

Since 1979 we have been a member of
Basics Office Products--Canada's largest group of independent office products retailers, with representation coast to coast. Being locally owned, yet having national buying power, we can offer you an unlimited selection of products, with staff that have expert knowledge.

     Highlights of Our History
  • In 1840 a bookbinder by the name of Robert McIver retired from his trade and sold his equipment to his landlord, John Dicks; Mr. Dicks used it to set up his youngest of 5 sons, Robert, as a bookbinder.
  • Some time after the Great Fire of 1846, Robert's wife, Mary-Jane, expanded the business to include Stationery Supplies and opened up a shop on Water Street, St. John's--quite remarkable, as a woman working outside of the home was virtually unheard of in this era.
  • Robert Dicks died in 1882, but Mary-Jane carried on as the sole owner of Dicks and Company. She remained the only owner until joined by her son-in-law, John Leamon, in the late 1880's/early 1890's.
  • Having expanded into the selling of books as well, in 1892 Dicks and Company's well-known "Sign of the Book" first appeared.
  • In 1913 a new Printing Divisionemerged.
  • Going strong, by 1919 the business expanded yet again, now including Office Supplies. G. Douglas Rogers, future majority shareholder of the company, became a shareholder at this time as well.
  • From 1928 onward Office Machines and Equipment were being sold, also.
  • John Leamon died August 23, 1939, ending the Dicks family connection.
  • G. Douglas Rogers acquired controlling interest in Dicks and Company in 1941.
  • In 1955 Mr. Rogers retired and James Austin II, who had been with the company since 1943, acquired the majority of shares in the company.
  • In 1975 James Austin II retired and handed the reins to James Austin III, who first joined the company in 1956.
  • In 1979 we joined Basics, a national network of dealers--each one being 100% Canadian owned and operated. To learn more about Basics visit
  • In 1993 we closed our bookstore. Goodbye to the "Sign of the Book."
  • And now, here we are in the 21st Century. We're still going strong and are proud to have remained locally owned and operated forover 173 years.

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