In December 1995, when Bill and Lewis Carpenter sold their drugstore, South Carolina’s oldest family-operated one, an era ended.
Carpenter Brothers Drug Store, on Main Street across from the Poinsett Hotel since 1924 and at the Mansion House since the 1880s, was not just a place where prescriptions were filled. It was also the city’s central ticketing agency, the place where you bought tickets to Furman football games, Spinners’ baseball at Meadowbrook Park, the circus, plays, concerts and operas.
Many breakfast customers munched Duke’s sandwiches at its counter. After shopping, ladies enjoyed ice cream sundaes there. Gentlemen spent hours at tables there and solved the world’s problems over cigarettes, cigars and coffee. Three generations of druggist brothers purveyed fruit cakes, chicklets, pain relievers, and candy; they had sold Huyler’s chocolates since 1893.
In later years, patrons browsed among mahogany cupboards stuffed with mementoes of Greenville’s past and inspected old menus and clippings on its glass-topped tables. At one time the Carpenters had several stores, including those at the Depot and West End, but in its final decades it belonged to Main Street.
In this Greenville News file photo, an old sign reminds folks of the store’s past days.
Editor’s note: For more than 140 years, The Greenville News has told the story of our community and the people who live here. Each day this year we are publishing a brief piece of our history – Greenville’s story.