The Company Store
Leaving the Drugstore, we pass through a doorway
to find ourselves at the front of the Company Store. It was a very large place.
It occupied at least half of the second floor of the Hall and ran the full
length of the building.
The best way to describe the Company Store is to say that it was
a smaller version of a Wal-Mart store today. It was way before its time. It
had many more items for sale than a typical small town general store of that
era. It was a combination hardware, furniture, grocery, clothing, shoe and
sporting goods store, all under one roof.
There was no other store anywhere close to Pacolet that had the
variety and quantity of things for sale that the Company Store had. In looking
back, there were almost no stores in the city of Spartanburg that had the
variety of things it did. Probably, the only store that could have come close
to matching it would have been a Sears store. Spartanburg did have a Sears
but I don’t think that it was opened until the early 1950’s.
As a child, I remember my parents taking me to the Company Store
to buy me shoes and boots, usually when school started. (Many children, myself
included, went barefooted almost all of the time from about May 1 until the
first day of school in the fall.)
When I came to the store with my parents for other things, I always
left them to go and look at the sports equipment, particularly the baseball
gloves and bats. The store also sold all sorts of fishing equipment, and if
I remember correctly, rifles and shotguns, .22 bullets and shotgun shells.
I think that you could also order coal for your fireplace and ice for an icebox
at the store.
The back part of the store was a large area devoted to food and
groceries of all kinds. Before World War II and during it, many folks at Pacolet
Mills did not have a car. As a result, the Company Store offered a delivery
service for your groceries. You bought your groceries and the store would
take them home for you. Most folks had walked to the store. I don’t know
if they rode home with their groceries or not.
I don’t remember it, but during the depression, the Mill Company
sometimes paid their employees with their own script. These paper coupons
could be used in the company store just like money.
Mill employees could easily get a charge account at the store.
They could charge items during the week and this amount would be subtracted
from their pay on pay day. The story is often told of families new to the
Mill and not used to this system would charge too much. Unless they were
careful, they would always be in debt to the Company Store. That would not
be unlike the situation that many folks find themselves with credit cards
Glendale Mills also had a Company Store. For an inside look at
it, click on http://glendalesc.com/store.html.
This web site has
been started as a public service to share the story
of Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about
putting information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster.
Contact me at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117.
My regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485