Riff & Ness


Manning, SC

FAMILIES: Ness; Riff

A Polish immigrant, Benjamin Ness (1890-1956) moved from New York to Manning, South Carolina by 1910 to join his brother, Morris Ness (1887-1975). The brothers worked as salesmen in David Hirschman’s (1871-1932) store, until Morris opened a dry goods and clothing store, Everybody’s Store, in 1913. Benjamin worked for his brother as a salesman at Everybody’s Store, and the subsequent The New Idea Co., a clothing business Morris operated from 1914 to 1922. In 1921, Benjamin went into business with Harry Riff (c.1908-1948), a prominent Jewish merchant in Manning. The pair, along with Riff’s relative, Morris Riff, founded Riff & Ness, which sold dry goods, clothes, and shoes. Benjamin’s wife, Esther Berger Ness (1899-1976), worked as a saleslady at Riff & Ness. Riff & Ness closed by 1923. After Riff & Ness closed, Benjamin went back to work with his brother, Morris, who ran a business that sold clothes and shoes. After Morris’s business went bankrupt in 1924, Benjamin and his family moved to Sumter, South Carolina, where he and Esther opened a ready-to-wear ladies clothing business, Ness’.

Main Image: Reprinted from The Manning Times, July 20, 1921.


Above: Reprinted from The Manning Times, September 20, 1922.

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation. Longtime members of the JHSSC, Mr. Arnold obm, a merchant himself, and Mr. Farbstein obm were both children of South Carolina Jewish merchants.

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