Breedin’s Drug Store


Main Street
Columbia, SC


Breedin’s Drug Store was established by a gentile pharmacist named Berryman Brent Breedin (1891-1945) in 1941. He briefly operated the store out of 1738 Main Street before moving into a newly completed building at 1800 Main Street in 1942. Abraham “Abe” (1907-1978) and Harry Zalin (1909-1970) purchased the building, which featured a vitrolite and glass brick exterior, in 1947. Abe and Harry were born to Russian immigrants, Hyman (1875-1928) and Anna Barth Zalin (1880-1933), the late owners of Zalin’s Department Store in Walterboro, South Carolina. Following in their parents’ footsteps, Abe and Harry operated at least five other businesses in the state before moving to Columbia and purchasing Breedin’s Drug Store. Newspaper advertisements placed by the Zalin brothers promoted Breedin’s traditional pharmacy offerings—like asthma inhalers, baby formula, insulin, and supplements—as well as cigarettes and raffle tickets for a new car.


In Abe and Harry’s nearly twenty years on Main Street, Breedin’s Drug Store was robbed at least twice. The first robbery occurred in March 1949 when a thief walked away with an estimated $300 in petty cash and stolen goods after hiding in the store until the employees left for the night. Then in April 1957, a group of professional safecrackers broke in from a second story window, blew open the Zalin’s safe, and escaped with $4,000. Breedin’s Drug Store ultimately went into receivership in 1965, and the building was demolished in 1967. A year later, the site was leased to International Business Machines, or IBM.

Main Image: Advertisement for asthma inhalers. Reprinted from The State, May 17, 1950.



Above Image: Photograph of the United Fund Torch Parade passing in front of Breedin’s Drug Store, 1959. Image courtesy of The State Newspaper Photograph Archive, Richland Library.


Above Image: Abraham Zalin pictured in front of blown safe. Reprinted from The Columbia Record, April 15, 1957.

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.

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