Berry & Baker

Clothier
1909-1928

1312 Assembly Street
Columbia, SC

FAMILIES: Baker, Berry, Ravdin

Main Image: Aaron Berry (1914-1981), son of Abraham and Fannie Berry, poses inside his mother’s store, Berry & Baker, circa 1922. Beside Aaron are Fred Ravdin (left) and his uncle, Louis Baker (right). To the rear are store employees Jim Belton (left) and Willie Coins (right). Image courtesy Laurie Walden

Abraham Berry (1883-1917), born in Vizna, Russia, immigrated to the United States in 1905. By 1909, he operated a clothing store at 1314 Assembly Street. The following year, Abraham relocated the business to 1312 Assembly Street, where it remained under his management until his death in 1917. His wife, Fannie Baker Berry (1886-1967), assumed management that year of the renamed Mrs. F. Berry, dry goods, and her father, Hyman Becker (later Baker) left Mount Pleasant to live with her. Fannie’s brother, Louis Baker (1882-1946), arrived in Columbia by 1919 and joined the business. Berry & Baker, which sold second-hand clothing and shoes, operated at the same address until 1922. Two other siblings, Frank and Jake Baker, also moved to Columbia in the 1920s—Baker’s Shoe Store, owned by Jake and Esther Kligerman Baker, would later operate two buildings in the north at 1320 Assembly Street.

Louis’s wife, Dora Grossman Baker (1893-1967), briefly managed the store in 1925, and Louis is not listed as an employee after 1922. The store, known once again by Fannie Berry’s name, closed in 1928. Louis founded Baker’s Repair Shop down the street that same year.

Abraham and Fannie Baker Berry, circa 1910. Image courtesy Laurie Walden

Louis and Dora Grossman Baker, circa 1920. Image courtesy Laurie Walden

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation. Longtime members of the JHSSC, Mr. Arnold obm, a merchant himself, and Mr. Farbstein obm were both children of South Carolina Jewish merchants.

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Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center
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