Before and After: Downtown Jacksonville Retail

March 14, 2017

For much of the 20th century, downtown Jacksonville's Northbank was the premier urban shopping district in Florida. Here's a before and after look at spaces that were once key attractions of a forgotten retail era in the city's history.



Grayson's


Grayson's in 1946. (State Archives of Florida/Spottswood)


In 2008, Chamblin's Uptown opened in the former Grayson's space at 215 North Laura Street.




Haverty's Furniture Company


Haverty's Furniture Company in the old YMCA Building on March 6, 1953. (State Archives of Florida/Fisher)


In 2008, the building housing the Haverty's Furniture Company was restored and modified into the City Hall Annex.




Horne-Wilson, Inc.


745 West Forsyth Street was completed in 1950 for Horne-Wilson, Inc.  Horne-Wilson was a wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating and air-conditioning products that was sold to the I.U. Corporation in 1974. (State Archives of Florida/Spottswood)


745 West Forsyth Street is currently occupied by Sally Industries. Sally makes robotic characters and figures for use in theme parks, museums, motion picture, and retail stores worldwide.




J.B. Ivey & Company


The J.B. Ivey & Company's six-story, 180,000-square-foot department store at Laura and Church Streets during the 1970s. The conversion of Hemming Park to Hemming Plaza resulted in the temporary closure of several downtown streets, hurting business to the point that Ivey closed their doors in downtown for good on July 13, 1985.  (Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections Department)


After the closure of the downtown J.B. Ivey & Company department store, the space was converted into JEA's Customer Service Center. The Charlotte-based J.B. Ivey & Company chain was sold to Dillard's in 1990.




S.H. Kress & Company


The S.H. Kress & Company was known for its impressive architectural collection of five-and-dime stores, when it operated a downtown Jacksonville location at Main and Adams in 1949. (State Archives of Florida/Spottswood)


The Kress chain started to disappear from downtown streets across the country after it was acquired by Genesco in 1964. All remaining Kress stores were sold to McCrory Stores in January 1981. The former downtown Jacksonville location is the home of personal injury attorneys Farah & Farah.





Levy/Wolf


Levy/Wolf at Hogan and Adams Streets in the early 1980s.  Levy's Department Store was founded by Benjamin S. Levy in 1912.  Levy's which had a reputation for carrying some of the most exclusive and luxurious merchandise, billed itself as the store "where the styles are shown first." During the mid-20th century Harold Wolf served as the company's president.  After his departure in 1969, the store was renamed Levy/Wolf. (City of Jacksonville Historic Preservation Office)


After 57 years of operation at the intersection of Adams and Hogan Streets, Levy/Wolf closed in July 1984. Today, the former department store building is used as an office building.

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