For over 100 years, the T. Hockin Co. Ltd. was an anchor of both Main Street and Dutton's business community. A department store offering a wide range of quality goods, the store was there for all local residents' needs, but it was also there for 105 years of events and changes that shaped the community.

Through a survey of the company's advertisements in the local newspaper, it is clear that the T. Hockin Co. was an esteemed fixture of the community throughout its century in operation.

Thomas M. Hockin was born in Cornwall, England on September 7, 1856. He and his parents emigrated to Canada ca. 1860 and settled near Hamilton before moving to Strathroy ca. 1870. There, Thomas worked in a dry goods business operated by W. T. Pearce, which is where he developed his dream of going into the business himself. 

In 1880 Thomas and a business partner, C. Turpain, moved to Dutton and began operating a dry goods store in the ‘H. Lane Block’ on Main Street, also known as the ‘Brick Block’ since it was Dutton’s first brick building. In 1882, Hockin and James Pool purchased Mr. Turpain’s interest in the store and established a business known as Hockin and Pool, ‘The People’s Popular Cash Store.’ In 1884, Hockin married Bessie Brown of Port Talbot. 

The Hockin and Pool store was destroyed by fire in October 1885 along with much of the west side of Dutton’s Main Street. A headline in the Dutton Enterprise from October 22, 1885 reads “Dutton has its First Big Fire” and notes that the blaze started in the upper level of the store building. The Hockin & Pool losses were estimated at $16,000 and the company was insured for $10,582. The store was rebuilt on a larger scale and re-opened at 174 Main Street in February 1886. In the late 1880s, Hockin & Pool operated a satellite store in Wallacetown. Pool left the business in 1895 to enter the banking profession in Dutton and Hockin carried on as the sole proprietor of what became the T. Hockin Company Limited. James Pool married Mattie Moore of Tyrconnell in February 1886. 

Thomas Hockin and the T. Hockin Company are associated with numerous major social and societal highlights in the Dutton Dunwich community. Mr. Hockin was a candidate for the Dutton Reeve race in 1901. In 1932, the Company installed a motor service for the delivery of goods. Mr. Hockin was named honourary chair of the Dutton chapter of the Canadian Red Cross in 1941 when that organization was undertaking critical war work during WWII. Over its over 100 years in operation, the T. Hockin Company sponsored countless local events and competitions, and annually provided the Hockin trophy for hockey and curling championships. 

A story published in the February 12, 1940 edition of the Dutton Advance captures Thomas Hockin’s life and legacy in light of his 60th anniversary as a local business leader:

...Many changes have taken place in these years. In the early days stores opened around seven o’clock, and remained open until eight o’clock. Vast changes have taken place in the heating and lighting systems. In the Hockin store a gas furnace replaces the old wood stoves and hydro the coal oil lamps. Then, farmers used to bring in their eggs, butter, wool, pork, etc. which were exchanged for goods. That has all gone by the boards.
At one time an extensive tailoring establishment was operated in connection with the business, but on the advent of semi-tailored clothes, this department was closed. The same applies to other departments in the store. Additions have been made to the premises, also many alterations, and now the T. Hockin Co.’s store is in a position to serve the public with almost all merchandise that is stacked in any large departmental store in the cities. Today, as in the past, this store, with a large staff of experienced employees, is prepared to provide you with quality goods and expert service.
Associated with Mr. Hockin virtually from the inception of the business in Dutton was his brother, the late Mr. Joseph Hockin, who passed away about four years ago, after some 57 years of service in the business. For a number of years Thomas Hockin has had his two sons, Eugene and Harold, assisting him with this business, and at the present time have assumed the larger part of the main segment. 
Apart from being the guiding hand in the business, Mr. Hockin found time during his long and useful life to take an active part in municipal and social life. He has served on the municipal council and also on the school board; and one of the live interests in his life has been the church. A lifelong Anglican, he was instrumental in the building of the Church of the Nativity, and since its inception has been the rector’s warden. During the past 25 years Mr. and Mrs. Hockin have yearly enjoyed a vacation in Florida, but owing to indifferent health were unable to make the trp this year. While Mr. Hockin does not make daily trips to the store at present, he manages to pay periodical visits, just to see how ‘the boys,’ as he calls them (but who are men of middle age) are getting along. After a period of 70 years spent in business life, Mr. Hockin is spending the evening of his life with his gracious helpmeet at their beautiful home on Shackleton Street.

Thomas was joined in the family business by his brothers William and Joseph, and later his sons Eugene and Harold, and Eugene’s son Donald operated the store. Mrs. Bessie Hockin died in May 1940. Thomas Hockin died on September 8, 1941 at the age of 85. Eugene Hockin died in August 1972 at the age of 88. Harold Hockin died in February 1974 at the age of 88. The Hockin store continued in operation until 1987 when Donald Hockin sold the business to Chris DeAtis and his wife, who briefly operated a Freshmart store in the former Hockin premises.