Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Hendrix Family Grocery Business, 1868-1927

by Paul Armstrong
August 5, 2018
modified December 29, 2018

With the resurgence of Columbia's Main Street, some of the new businesses have taken names from the street's history.  Examples are Lula Drake and The Grand.  The latest to use this naming technique is Hendrix, a restaurant that plans to open soon at 1649 Main Street.  Here is the story of the grocery business from which the new restaurant has taken its name.

Joseph Austin Hendrix
Photo courtesy of  Patsy Hendrix Fetner
Joseph Austin Hendrix (1819-1895) and Solomon Nicholas Hendrix (1829-1906) were brothers from Lexington County who married sisters Elizabeth Feaster and Irene Feaster.  By 1868, Joseph and Solomon had moved to Columbia and were running a grocery store, J A Hendrix & Bro, on the east side of what is now the 1400 block of Assembly Street. The grocery store was operated in rented space in a building owned by Victoria Walker.

On July 3, 1870, fire destroyed the building on Assembly Street.  Fortunately, the grocery store’s losses were covered by insurance and they were able to quickly recover.  According to the Daily Phoenix, by July 6, J A Hendrix & Bro had moved the grocery business to the southwest corner of Richardson (now Main) and Blanding Streets which was commonly known as "Bryce's Corner". The building at that location had recently become vacant with the April 8, 1870 death of Richard Allen who had operated a grocery store there for about a year.

At some point between 1875 and 1879, Joseph Hendrix split from the retail grocery business and opened a wholesale grocery establishment on the northeast corner of Main and Blanding Streets.  Solomon continued to run the retail grocery store, then known as S N Hendrix, on the southeast corner of Main and Blanding.

By 1888, S N Hendrix had moved from the Main and Blanding location to a building at what would later be addressed as 1530 Main Street. By this time, Solomon’s son-in-law, Edwin T Hendrix, had joined him as a clerk in the business. 

In February of 1893, S N Hendrix moved two doors south to 1524 Main Street in the Fisher Building which was located on part of the property now occupied by the condominium building at 1520 Main Street.  This move was necessary to make way for the Canal Dime Savings Bank’s new building to be built at 1530 Main Street.

In the mid-to-late 1890s, S N Hendrix began to use the catch phrase “Good Things to Eat” in newspaper advertising. The store came to be popularly known as the “Good Things to Eat” shop. This phrase was subsequently used in advertising for all incarnations of the business through the rest of its history.

In January of 1897, S N Hendrix moved again, this time to 1637 Main Street (where 2.50 Cleaners is now). The business was listed at this address in the 1897-98, 1899, 1901, 1903 Columbia City Directories. Edwin T Hendrix was listed as the bookkeeper in the 1897-1898 and 1899 City Directories and as manager in the 1901 and 1903 City Directories.

On February 19, 1904, Solomon N Hendrix sold the business to his son-in-law, Edwin T Hendrix, and retired. Edwin continued the business at 1637 Main Street and changed the store’s name to E T Hendrix.

In 1906, Edwin Hendrix purchased the property at 1649 Main Street and moved his grocery business there. The store was operated at this location as E T Hendrix until 1913.

Chick Hendrix
Photo from the
1908 Garnet and Black Yearbook

University of South Carolina
In 1908, E T Hendrix’s son, Solomon Edwin “Chick” Hendrix graduated from the University of South Carolina and joined his father’s grocery firm. Chick took over responsibility for marketing and advertising. He also was quite creative in designing window displays.  In the fall of 1909, he designed and built a display modeled after a ferris wheel which was operating across the street as part of a traveling carnival.  Chick’s wheel was made of apples and wire and actually revolved using a series of pulleys connected to a motor in the basement of the store.  The ferris wheel’s cars were made of cranberries and wire and carried tiny dolls as passengers.  The Columbia Record noted that Chick’s display was very popular and may have attracted more attention then the carnival across the street.

In 1913, the grocery business was incorporated and renamed Hendrix, Inc.  It went public with an initial stock offering on September 11, 1913. E T Hendrix left the company to pursue other interests and Chick Hendrix took over operations.

Apparently due to financial difficulties, Hendrix Inc, was placed into receivership in the fall of 1924 and the store was closed on November 5. A new corporation, Hendrix & Company, was chartered on December 12 with S E Hendrix as president, E T Hendrix as vice president, and H G Brady as secretary. The store reopened on December 15, 1924 at the same location on the corner of Main and Blanding Streets but under the new cooperate name of Hendrix & Co.

In 1926, Hendrix & Co defaulted on their mortgage and the store closed for good.  In a series of mortgage sales, the company’s fixtures and other property were sold during December 1926 and January 1927.

  • The Columbia Directory. Columbia, SC: W W Deane, 1868.
  • “The Fire.” The Daily Phoenix, Columbia, SC, July 6, 1870, page 2.
  • “Crumbs.” The Daily Phoenix, Columbia, SC, July 7, 1870, page 2.
  • “Death of a Merchant.” The Daily Phoenix, Columbia, SC, April 9, 1870, page 2.
  • Columbia Directory for 1875-1876. Columbia, SC: Beasley & Emerson, 1875.
  • 1879-1880 Columbia South Carolina City Directory. Columbia, SC: Charles Emerson & Co., 1879.
  • City Directory of Columbia, SC for 1888. Columbia, SC: C M Douglas, 1888.
  •  “Ring Up 89!” The State, Columbia, SC, February 23, 1893, page 8.
  • “Preparing for the New Bank.” The State, Columbia, SC, February 1, 1893, page 2.
  • The Columbia City Directory, 1895. Columbia, SC: C M Douglas, 1895.
  • “In New Quarters.” The State, Columba, SC, January 29, 1897.
  • 1897-1898 Columbia City Directory. Columbia, SC: Maloney Directory Co., 1897.
  • Directory of the City of Columbia for 1899. Charleston, SC: W H Walsh, 1899.
  • Directory of the City of Columbia for 1901. Charleston, SC: W H Walsh, 1901.
  • Directory of the City of Columbia for 1903. Charleston, SC: W H Walsh, 1903.
  • “Announcement.” The State, Columbia, SC, February 22, 1904, page 8.
  • “Extra Fine.” The State, Columbia, SC, February 23, 1904, page 8.
  • “Sale of Real Estate.” The State, Columbia, SC, December 22, 1906, page 5.
  • The Garnet and Black.  Columbia, SC: Students of the University of South Carolina, 1908, page 22.
  • "An Attractive Window." Columbia Record, Columbia, SC, November 4, 1909, page 7.
  • “Notice of Opening of Books of Subscription of Hendrix’s.” The Columbia Record, Columbia SC, September 9, 1913, page 12.
  • “The Grocery Shop.” The State, Columbia, SC, October 11, 1916, page 10.
  • “Hendrix to Open New Food Store.”, The State, Columbia SC, November 6, 1924, page 10.
  • “Hendrix & Company Granted a Charter.”, The Columbia Record, Columbia, SC, December 13, 1924, page 2.
  • “This Morning We Reopen Hendrix’s Good Things to Eat Grocery, Bakery, Delicatessen, and Market.” The State, Columbia, SC, December 15, 1924, page 10.
  • “Notice of Sale of Fixtures.” The State, Columbia, SC, December 16, 1926, page 10.
  • “Auction Sale.” The State, Columbia, SC, December 19, 1926, page 29.
  • “Mortgagee’s Sale.” The State, Columbia, SC, December 31, 1926, page 6.
  • “Good Things to Eat.” The State, Columbia, SC, September 5, 1897, page 5.


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