Biggest Little Store


Assembly Street
Columbia, SC


Biggest Little Store was a clothing store founded by Benjamin “Ben” Jacob Bloom (1896-1949) and located at 1239 Assembly Street. Ben was born in Austria-Hungary—in what is now modern-day Ukraine—and immigrated to the United States in 1909. He established himself as a successful businessman in Albany, New York and married Columbia native Minnie Karesh (1905-1984) there in 1936. Within the next three years, Ben and Minnie moved to Columbia, South Carolina and celebrated the birth of their children: Robert (b. 1937) and Libby (b. 1939). Ben opened his clothing shop in 1941 and began producing short, playful advertisements for his store like, “it’ll pay you to pay Ben Bloom a visit” and “such a small store but my-oh-my such a large selection of gifts.”1 After one year at 1239 Assembly Street, Ben sold Biggest Little Store and purchased a shop directly across the road at 1102 Lady Street. He operated the latter store in his name and died there in 1949 after suffering from a heart attack.


1 “Ben Bloom’s Special to Army Men,” Columbia Record, December 23, 1941, 14; “Such a Small Store,” Columbia Record, December 2, 1941, 12.

Main Image: Advertisement for Biggest Little Store. Reprinted from The Columbia Record, December 7, 1941.

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Henry & Sylvia Yaschik Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation.

JHSSC Office
Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center
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Phone: 843 953 3918