In 1837, William S. Henderson, an Irish-born merchant, bought his partners’ interest in their Quebec City fur shop and went into business for himself, thereby marking the traditional founding date of Holt Renfrew. Three years earlier, Henderson had arrived by ship from Londonderry with a load of hats and caps. The merchandise sold well and other overseas crossings followed. Eventually, Henderson set up shop at Quebec under the name William Ashton & Co. An early company advertisement noted a line of wholesale and retail garments and accessories that included Ladies’ fur muffs, boas and tippets, in addition to Buffalo Robes and Bear skins, procured as well as “manufactured on this premises. ” By 1847, the store, then renamed William S. Henderson & Co. , had established itself at 12 Buade Street. Eventually the store moved to larger premises at 35 Buade where it remained for many years. Over the decades that followed, the store’s ownership changed hands, as various partners came and went, and the firm’s name underwent revision. W. S. Henderson eventually sold the store to his brother John, a Montreal businessman, and it became John Henderson & Co. In 1862, with the addition of business partner George Richard Renfrew, the store’s name changed to Henderson, Renfrew and Company. By the time of Confederation, in 1867, Henderson had retired and Renfrew and V. H. Marcou, whom Henderson had sent to Quebec to manage the business, had become the new principals, with the firm renamed Renfrew & Marcou.