Diamond Superette


412 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29403


Throughout the mid-1900s, Leon (1911-1997) & Ethel Miller Lipman (c.1913-1985) managed at least eight businesses in Charleston. Leon was the oldest of five children born in Charleston to Polish immigrant Hyman (1881-1951) and his first wife, Rachel Finkelstein Lipman (b. 1894). Leon grew up working as a clerk in his father’s grocery store and married Ethel sometime before 1938. Ethel also grew up in the mercantile industry and, following her father Charles Miller (1873-1938), immigrated to the United States from Poland with her mother, Liba Chervonykamen Miller (1873-1938), and four older siblings around the age of five.

After working for his father for several years, Leon opened his own grocery store at 16 America Street around 1935. Over the course of the next seven years, he also managed Cut Rate Service, Bargain Corner Market, N.B. Grocery, and Atlantic Neon Sign Service. By that time, Ethel had given birth to their oldest child, Charles, and would soon welcome their daughter, Loretta, to the world.


Around 1944, Leon joined another brother-in-law, Meyer Jaffee (1914-1978), in managing White Star Grocery at 430 King Street and then left the store in Meyer’s capable hands by 1948. Still operating Bargain Corner Market on Calhoun, Leon and Ethel opened the Diamond Superette around 1950. There, Ethel took the lead managing the store at 412 Meeting Street, which was formerly home to Leon’s Cut Rate Service. She closed the store sometime before 1955 but continued to play an active and visible role in each of her family’s ventures. In 1957, the Lipmans opened Leon’s 5 Cents, 10 Cents & 1 Dollar Store at 549 King Street, and then, after approximately three decades in business, Leon and Ethel closed Bargain Corner in the mid-1960s. They continued operating Leon’s 5 Cents, 10 Cents & 1 Dollar Store for several years, eventually selling it to Peter Shelbourne around 1979. 

Main Image: 1951 Charleston Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing 412 Meeting Street in red. Reprinted from the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

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
96 Wentworth Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: 843 953 3918