Main Street
Columbia, SC


Margo’s Gift Shop was established by James “Jimmy” (1914-1993) and Victoria “Vicki” (1918-1984) Setton Arazie in 1958. Both Jimmy and Vicki were born to Syrian immigrants and raised in New York City. It is unclear when Vicki relocated to South Carolina, however historical records show that Jimmy moved to Columbia in 1937 with his siblings and managed at least two other family businesses, Empire Linen Shop and Tiny Tots Togs. Jimmy and Vicki married in New York in 1948 and had three children together in Columbia: Stanley “Stan” (1949-2016), Rachelle “Rusty” (1951-2015), and Terry (1953-2008).


Once their children were in school, Vicki and Jimmy decided to open Margo’s Gift Shop at 1339 Main Street. There, they stocked an array of merchandise including costume jewelry, shaving kits, dinnerware, linens, radios, and small kitchen appliances. While Jimmy had already been associated with a series of Main Street stores for more than twenty years, it was Margo’s Gift Shop that came to define Jimmy and Vicki’s role in the community, earning them the nicknames “Mr. and Mrs. Margo.” Their children also spent countless hours at the shop growing up, and Stan and Rusty were both employed at their parent’s store for decades. Continuing in her family’s entrepreneurial spirit, Terry went on to open her own linen shop in Charleston, South Carolina in 1978.


As to be expected, Margo’s underwent many changes in its thirty-five years in business. In 1962, Vicki and Jimmy changed the store’s name to Margo’s Discount Center, and in 1971, the business moved to 1526 Main Street and began advertising an expanded product line which included eight tracks, tape recorders, and portable cassettes. When interviewed for a local newspaper in 1985, Jimmy expressed pride in Margo’s wide assortment stating, “Our motto for years has been: ‘If you can’t find it at Margo’s—you might as well go home!’”1 In 1988, the building’s gas furnace exploded, shattering the display windows and causing $20,000 in damages to the store. Undeterred, a seventy-four-year-old Jimmy reopened Margo’s Discount Center a few days later. Stan and Rusty chose to sell the store after their father’s death in 1993.


1 Bill McDonald, “What You Can Buy on Main,” State, November 21, 1985, 23.

Main Image: Advertisement for Margo’s Gift Shop. Reprinted from The State, October 4, 1959.


Above Image: Advertisement for Margo’s grand reopening at 1526 Main Street. Reprinted from The Columbia Record, September 9, 1971.


Above Image: Newspaper clipping describing an explosion at Margo’s. Reprinted from The State, December 2, 1988.

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