Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Main Street USA Loses Iconic Lipsitz Dept. Store

After more than 100 years in business in the heart of downtown Beaufort, S.C., our Aunt Lucille and Uncle Joe's business, Lipsitz Department Store, is closing.

Here's an article, complete with photos of the store and Lucille and Joe: http://www.beaufortgazette.com/local/story/692794.html

It's yet another tough blow for Main Street USA (technically, Bay Street in Beaufort), but it's not due to the tough economic times. Rather, Joe is in a nursing home and the store is just too much for Lucille to manage on her own. Lucille owes it to herself to take some time off--probably has for at least 20 years now!

The Curmudgeon's grandfather, Nathan Bass, ran a mercantile store in the cotton belt town of North, South Carolina. There were a remarkable number of Jewish merchants in southern small towns in those days.

Three of Nathan's four daughters followed suit--despite vows to the contrary when they worked in their daddy's store--and married into family clothing businesses. Aunt Ruth's husband ran the Hanes distributorship in Charleston, SC; Aunt Frances married into Ginsburg's ladies shop in Bishopville, SC; and Aunt Lucille into the Lipsitz store in Beaufort.

Of the 20+ cousins in the Curmudgeon's generation, only one--Neil Lipsitz in Beaufort--is still carrying on the tradition, with a shoe store he owns across the street from the soon to be shuttered department store. That's the way it goes in America.

The Curmudgeon spent a summer in Beaufort with the Lipsitz family, working in a vegetable packing facility to earn money for a big trip abroad. It was one of those summers that generates fond memories, and we'll never forget the warm feeling of going into Lipsitz Department Store.

We're sorry to see it go!


Bluedog said...

So, now that you've had some time off from the legal world maybe you're ready to jump into something new; like running a store in South Carolina.

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