In less than a week, we published an article about a new store coming to Greenville and another one shutting its doors.
While I’m glad to see the new discount store, Roses, open on Highway 82, it saddens me to see Stein Mart saying goodbye.
As most everyone living in Greenville or who has visited downtown Greenville is aware, Stein Mart actually got its start in the Queen City.
The historical marker at Stein Mart Square on Washington Avenue downtown Greenville gives a brief synopsis of its history. It reads, “Russian immigrant Sam Stein arrived in Greenville by riverboat in 1905. Here, he founded a retail enterprise that would remain in his family for generations. On this site in 1964, his son, Jake Stein, opened the first Stein Mart store. By the 1980s, grandson Jay Stein had developed Stein Mart into a national department store chain.”
For more information on the history of Stein Mart, be sure to read the article on the cover of today’s edition of the paper if you have not yet had the chance to do so.
When you’re born and raised in a small city with a store like Stein Mart, serving as a popular shopping center for more than five decades, you never imagine the day it will face its closure.
Though admittedly I was not a regular Stein Mart shopper, I still spent plenty of time in there.
Nearly every spring, my mother took me there to buy a new Easter Sunday dress and it was always a special treat.
My siblings and I rarely had new clothes to wear because hand-me-downs were never turned away, but those Easter dress shopping trips to Stein Mart made me feel like royalty.
With what I always viewed as a never-ending and overwhelming number of dresses to choose from, a store employee was always kind enough to assist us with finding just the right dress within our budget.
In my own adult years, Stein Mart was my go-to stopping center for wedding and baby gifts. Knowing I won’t be able to do that anymore makes my heart ache a bit.
I’m sure Sam Stein would be proud to see how successful his son’s store grew to become. Not only did it become a thriving success for the Greenville community, but it had 281 outlets in 30 states at the time of its closing 56 years later. Not bad at all.
I have no doubt another business will eventually move into what will become the large, empty space next door to Pasquale’s and Frostop, but many of us will mourn the loss for some time.
Greenville has seen its share of business closures and although I am too young to remember many of the factories and restaurants that once existed, I have my fair share of memories of places that once were.
I miss the delightful smell of pastries upon walking through the front door of the bread stores, and I remember there being two.
I miss there being multiple video rental stores and gingerly picking which movies we wanted to watch over the next couple days until it had to be returned. I remember there were at least three, though perhaps there were more.
I miss the thrill of my friends and I strapping on a pair of rollerskates and hanging out while listening to our favorite songs at Roller World.
I miss having two movie theaters.
While I must confess I don’t remember the food, I do miss the many karaoke parties I attended at How Joy.
I miss there being specific stores for tasks like making spare keys, shopping for fabric and printing photographs rather than doing everything at Walmart. I even remember when Walmart was located across the street by Kroger.
I miss shopping with my mother at Sack N Save.
I especially miss browsing the many books on the shelves of the McCormick Book Inn and the paper bags purchased books were placed into. I always enjoyed listening in on the rich conversations exchanged between local residents and Hugh McCormick as they sat back in the rocking chairs by the fireplace.
Where businesses have left, others have since come. It is on us, the local residents, to support our businesses so we don’t lose them as well.
I enjoy Amazon, quite a lot, but I do feel guilty for spending my money on a website that is far from hurting financially rather than a local business in need of local dollars.
I am going to make a true effort to shop as locally as I can from now on. I encourage you to do the same.
Catherine Kirk is managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.