John Beecher Guy built this shop in 1926 for his sister Charlotte (Lottie). It was called ‘Wendy’s Tea and Candy Kitchen’ and sold Peters ice-cream, soft drinks, aerated waters and tobacco and home-made confectionary (Lottie had taken a course in sweetmaking). Without refrigeration the ice-cream was chilled in a mixture of bought ice and salt.
Lottie provided morning and afternoon teas with cooked pies and cakes. She was noted for her home-made Yorkshire pies, which cost 3d and 4d, and were popular with some of the Waitemata rugby team. Later she added a small lending library – her father had been a librarian. The shop was open six and a half days a week, closing early on Wednesday so that Lottie could attend the monthly meetings of the Women’s Institute.
Bob Guy took over the shop in the early 1930s and ran it as a grocery. It continued as a grocers under various owners including the Middletons and Smiths. In 1958 Bill Calvert sold the shop to his sister, Rhoda and her husband Bill Cuckson, but by 1961 they had moved the Four Square business to the end shop (on the corner of Church Street) of the Calvert block.
Bruce Hounslow ran a men’s hairdressing business here after 1961 for a short while, after which the building was rented out as a home.
In August 2000 the front part of the house was converted back into a shop and became an antique and Balinese furniture shop for a short time until Bronwyn Healy moved in with her Touchwood Picture Framing business in 2001. The following year Bronwyn and business partner Khadisha Harvey renovated the building, naming it Signal Gallery (after the old signal box at the Swanson railway station) and the gallery became a venue to showcase the work of local artists.
In 2014 a curiosity store was briefly housed in the shop and since 2015 it is used by a hairdressers.
A pre-1944 report states: “This building is one of only a few historic buildings in this locality, and therefore has the potential to be significant as a reflection of the area’s historical development patterns.”