The present Hawtrey store was built in the 1870’s by George Southwick when the village of Hawtrey contained two hotels, two stores, two black smith shops, and a large shingle and planning mill. The store was purchased from Sam Innis by the late John Beck in 1920 and was initially leased to the United Farmers of Ontario. Soon thereafter, John Beck married and he and his wife operated the store continually until shortly before his death in 1974.
This French Renaissance commercial building is architecturally exceptional for a small village. Its decorative Mansard roof, providing extra head room for the upper storey, was originally adorned with a roof walk with turned balusters, and two distinctive double chimneys. The hooded dormers are relatively simple except for the scroll designs on the sides. The elaborate brackets under the eaves have turned pendants.
The body of the building is finished at the corners with brick groining. The original façade had large four-paned windows surrounding a recessed double door. These windows were topped with a scalloped edge. The front has been covered over but the original windows and door are still inside. The original counters and shelving are found inside the store.