Many business careers are stories of father-son relationships with the father originating the business and the sons carrying the torch after the father’s death. This is the history of the Brody Brothers Dry Goods Company, founded in 1917 by my grandfather Hyman Joseph Brody (1876–1946) as a simple shoe store in Sumter, South Carolina. Hyman and his brothers and sisters, children of Mordechai Schuster and Ruth Palevitz Schuster, settled in New York briefly after emigrating from Russia, but within a few years Hyman moved to the South on advice from friends.
Hyman Joseph Brody (née Schuster; family lore has it that “Brody” was on a sign at the New York docks and was adopted because it was easier to pronounce than Schuster), a native of Kletzk, Russia, immigrated to the United States in 1906. His wife, Bessie Lampert Krashnishelsky Brody (1882–1967), immigrated in 1913 with their children Sam, Raymond, William, Leo, Abram, and Jake. After Hyman and Bessie reunited, they moved to Anderson, South Carolina. Over time, the family grew, adding four boys—Reuben, Julius Samuel (“Sammy”), Morris, and Alex—and one girl, Ruth.
Hyman set up shop as a cobbler and shoemaker when the Brodys arrived in Anderson in 1913. Five years later they moved to the Midlands town of Sumter, South Carolina, and settled in what the family called the “Big House” at 10 South Washington Street. The Brody home was walking distance from Liberty Street, where Hyman established a shoe store, and near Temple Sinai, which had been built in 1913—the congregation’s second sanctuary, still standing today.