John A. Nash, formerly a salesman for Young's Jewellers, opened his first jewellery store in 1918. Nash's, which is set to close in 2015, has been located at 182, Dundas since 1920. The beautifully decorated ormalu façade installed on the ground floor is now the oldest store front in the downtown core. This store front is an example of the twenties' period design and is also representative of the merchants who built the downtown of London (ON). Londoners remember the little upstairs office at Nash's where you could sell your old silverware in order to have it turned into new jewellery.
Nash's will remain inscribed in the city's downtown history as one of its household merchants. Along with Kingsmill's and a number of other prominent names, Nash's will remain an emblem. Among early merchants who first made history in this city were Dennis O'Brien, London's first storekeeper and hotelier, and George J. Goodhue, the first "millionaire" of the city. Goodhue was also the first town president in the first council. Later merchants associated with the city are John Labatt and Thomas Carling. Labatt and Carling were civic-minded merchants and were responsible for the building, in the late 1840s, of what was then the Proof Line Road to connect London with its hinterland. Alongside the merchants, the city also prospered thanks to the manufacturers. Among the most prominent were the tanners, Simeon Morrell and Ellis W. Hyman, and the iron founders Elijah Leonard and the McClary brothers. As a result of London's economic expansion in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, driven by the success of London's merchants and manufacturers, the city annexed the surrounding suburbs. East London was annexed in 1885, the urbanized part of Westminster Township, now old South London, in 1890, and West London was annexed in 1898. In 1900, when the Normal School opened its doors to train teachers for the youth of the region, the city had unquestioned control of the surrounding area and was the ninth largest city of Canada.