By 1936, my father had moved the business to a storefront owned by the Hottinger family at 569 King Street, a few doors down from the corner of King and Cannon Streets. His clientele mainly consisted of men from the Black community in Charleston, North Charleston, and the surrounding small towns. During World War II, business was very good as he had a large group of customers, including many sailors from other countries whose ships were anchored. The sailors came in to buy American-made clothing. My father would give them store bags to stuff their sailor suits in so they could immediately be wearing the “American” clothing they bought at the store. They took their uniforms in the bags and stored them in lockers until their furlough was over. I remember being in the store when a ship with Polish sailors docked. Many came to the store, and these were the times I observed my father speaking Polish to them.
My father, along with many of the other Jewish merchants on King Street, kept his store open on Saturdays. It was the busiest day of the week. Working in the store at that time (1930’s until around the early-1950’s) was my father, selling and tailoring; my mother, who was the cashier; and Jake Widlitz (c.1893-1969), salesman. Jake was a real character–a vaudevillian for sure. He would entertain the customers, and he would sing all sorts of songs–my brother and his friend, Donald Barkowitz (1934-2014), learned all the lyrics of “Break The News To Mother” from Jake Widlitz, and the two of them sung that song at the infamous “St. Phillip Street Rewisited” Reunion in Charleston. Jake looked like one of the three stooges, smoked a cigar all the time, and loved his booze. He would store his booze in the toilet tank in the bathroom of the store. He also loved the movie star, Jane Russell and had pictures of her displayed in a dressing room at the store. Jake was a great salesman, pushy, and got customers to buy. When he was having a bad day, he would stay in the bathroom and have a few drinks! My father would tell him to go home, which he did, and in a few days, he returned, sober and ready to work! On the weekends, my father hired a young Jewish guy named Walter “Bolo” Berlinsky (1931-2009). My brother, Charlie (1933-2019), also worked on the weekends until he went off to college. My sister, Faye, worked there as well. I was too young at that time to work.