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Christmas Cheer Then and Now in Winston-Salem

 
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When Mast Store’s newest old location opened its doors in Winston-Salem in May 2015, we had the pleasure of meeting a woman with close ties to 516 North Trade Street. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Barbara Carter’s father worked in the building that boasted one of the largest retail and wholesale companies in the South: Brown-Rogers-Dixson (B-R-D). After her visit to our Mast Store grand opening in the very same building, Mrs. Carter wrote us saying, “It brought back fond childhood memories of my father and mother, both now deceased, bringing us to visit with Santa at the store.”

Mrs. Carter remembers, “My siblings remember [B-R-D] as a store that had everything that anyone would need.  As the youngest child, I don’t remember any details of the store itself, but it always seemed like walking through the doors of a magical place because Santa was there. Santa always gave us candy canes during our visits with him. I always looked forward to that.”

WINS-santa-2.jpgMrs. Carter generously shared beautiful photos and wonderful memories of her and her sibling’s visits with Santa at B-R-D in the 1940s and 1950s. The first and oldest photo [right] shows her brother, Jimmy, wearing a dark cap and talking with Santa Claus, who appears to be holding a doll in a box.

“In that same picture,” she continues, “notice the sign that was hanging in the store. The photographer cut the “C” out of the picture, but you can tell that Brown-Rogers-Dixson had the Shop Early for Christmas Lay-a-Way message posted in the store.”

WINS-santa-1.jpgThe second photo [left] shows Jimmy visiting with Santa a few years later in around 1952 or 1953. In the last photo [top], taken in 1959, you see Barbara and her older sister, Judy, posing for their photograph on Santa’s lap.

“I remember asking Santa for a baby doll and a coloring book with crayons. My sister would always ask for a baby doll as well. My brother remembers asking Santa for a fire truck and an electric train,” Mrs. Carter reminisces.  

“Having grown up in Winston-Salem and remembering the history of how it looked when we were shopping downtown as children with our parents has been so sweet. Seeing the transformation of our city as adults is quite amazing. We are honored that Mast General Store has chosen to be a part of our city and family. I believe you said that you were entertaining the thought or idea of bringing Santa back in to the store for the Christmas season. I know that it would be a big hit.”  

WINS-santa-4.jpgWe are very excited that we’re able to restore the Carter siblings' fondest Christmas memories for a new generation! Mr. and Mrs. Claus did return to the former B-R-D building at Mast Store Winston-Salem. And it is our intention to have them back next year to visit with good boys and girls to discuss their Christmas wish lists.

This blog was originally posted on December 2, 2015. We hope you enjoy the warm holiday memories of Christmases past. 

 


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