Riverside Grocery


170 Ashley Avenue
Charleston, SC 29203

FAMILIES: Beja, Cohen, Klarer, Lehrman, Schwartz, Friedman

Jacob E. Cohen, (born Yankle Kiegel, 1884-1943) immigrated to the United States from Odessa, Russia via Bremen, Germany aboard the vessel Rhine in 1907. He married Jennie Friedman (born Jennie Dreizyk, 1892-1962), an immigrant from Stutzen, Poland, on September 3, 1912. The couple moved to Meggett, a small town in Charleston County located about 30 miles south of Charleston, where they became the proprietor and saleswoman of a small general store. Oral tradition states that Jacob was also a truck farmer. Between 1913 and 1926, they had seven children: Tillie Cohen Lehrman (1913-2003), David Ephraim Cohen (1914-2001), Dorothy Cohen (1916-2005), Henry Cohen (1918-1992), Rose Cohen Schwartz (1920-2005), Sylvia Cohen Klarer (1922-2003), and Paula Cohen Beja (1926-2004). Between 1922 and 1925, Jacob worked as a City of Charleston police officer. In 1926, the family moved to a rented storefront with upstairs living quarters at 170 Ashley Avenue, where Jacob opened Riverside Grocery. Each of the children began working at the store at a young age. In 1931, Jacob moved his business and the family’s residence to a rented storefront at 111 Line Street. By 1932, the store was known as Jacob E. Cohen, retail grocery. The business and family moved a final time in 1936 to 714 Rutledge Avenue, which the Cohens purchased in 1942 for $5,200. The family remained in the grocery business after Jacob’s death in 1943, operating both Park Grove Grocery and Jennie Cohen, Grocery until 1961.

Main Image: Jacob Cohen, his wife Jenny Friedman, and their children, Tillie (standing) and David (sitting) pose for a photographer, circa 1914. All images courtesy of Stuart Cohen 


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.

JHSSC Office
Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center
96 Wentworth Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: 843 953 3918
Email: jhssc2020@gmail.com