The street address of the Mast Store in Greenville has a long retail history dating back to at least 1898 in the present day building. According to city plats, this building started out as a dry goods and shoe store. Before that, it was the site of a common well and kitchen facility.
As the city began to grow, retail, restaurants, and entertainment venues began to dominate the downtown area. The dry goods store from 1898 expanded by 1913 to encompass the entire width of the block and at that time housed the Meyers-Arnold Department Store.
In the 1920s, part of the store shared facilities with the Garing Theatre. These “movie houses” were seemingly on every corner. Within a short walk from the Garing Theatre was the Casino Theatre (at the corner of East North Street and Main), the Bijou Theatre (just across the street), and the Rialto Theatre (located where Trios Restaurant is today).
Meyers-Arnold, a family-owned store carrying most everything from clothing to housewares, occupied the building from 1903, when it was then Arnold Department Store, until 1971, when it moved to the McAlister Mall. It grew to include several other locations including Anderson, Asheville (NC), Augusta (GA), and Spartanburg.
Several old employees from the Meyers-Arnold days commented on the restoration project which revealed a pressed tin ceiling and warm maple flooring. It reminded them quite a bit of "the old days."
Mrs. Betty Meyers shared a story about the store. She said that there was never a signed lease on the building on Main Street. When the Meyers brothers and the gentleman that owned the building negotiated the agreement, it was sealed with a handshake. When both of these men that originally set the deal had passed away, neither of the remaining parties knew what the agreement was. So, a new deal was negotiated and cemented as gentlemen with a handshake.
The Mast Store in Greenville opened in 2003.
*Photo Courtesy the Greenville Historical Society, The Coxe Collection.