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WAY BACK WHEN: Halifax’s Pender Store, link to an early century retail giant
SoVaNow.com / October 15, 2012An item of interest at the Halifax County Historical Society’s “Antiques and Heirlooms Auction” on Saturday, Nov. 3 is a Pender’s Wagon donated by Sam and Kay Lewis. Where was Penders? Why the name Pender?
David Pender, a native of Tarboro, N.C., came to Norfolk in the 1890s seeking his fortune, just as had many young men who had left farms and small towns and traveled to cities in search of their future. Working in the retail grocery industry, Pender soon set out to establish his own store.
That store was opened as the David Pender Grocery Company at the corner of Market Street and Monticello Avenue in Norfolk in 1900. The store was a success, and Pender incorporated his company in January 1901.
Over the next 19 years the store prospered, offering the people of Norfolk the finest in groceries, meats, and fresh produce. A fleet of horse drawn wagons was employed in the earliest years, delivering goods to outlying areas. So great was the trade that in 1919 Pender decided to open a branch store and a location at 619 Colley Avenue, also in Norfolk. Other stores followed, and soon Pender “DP” stores were found across Eastern and Central Virginia and North Carolina.
On Jan. 1, 1926, David Pender Grocery Company became a publicly owned corporation, and having built the chain to a total of 244 stores, founder David Pender retired.
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