White Star Grocery


58 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29401

FAMILIES: Lipman, Jaffe

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. 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 his 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. There, Meyer implemented a barter system which allowed customers to trade household goods for groceries, stating “everybody’s got to eat, and everybody’s got something lying around the house he doesn’t want.”1



1 “Charleston Grocer Forgets the Money,” State, September 12, 1949, 13.

Main Image: Newspaper clipping describing White Star Grocery’s bartering system. Reprinted from The State, September 12, 1949.

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