In the late 1940s, Mom and I shopped for my clothing needs at Parks-Belk under the able guidance of Morris Thompson. As I grew older I started patronizing Kings Department Store where funnyman Ed Bateman helped guide me through selections (while continually reminding me that I needed to get married).
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On occasion, I shopped at Hannah’s at 213 E. Main. I was always impressed with the vast selection of (slightly higher priced) clothing they offered, the neatness of the place and their always-helpful attendants.
Hannah’s defined the scope of its business by its logo: “Hannah’s Incorporated – Dependable Wear for Men and Boys.” Another slogan was “Hannah’s is not merely a word but is that personal, individual interest in each customer that means guaranteed satisfaction on every purchase.
George S. Hannah established the George S. Hannah Co. in 1912. Prior to that, he was a traveling salesman residing at 117 E. Watauga. His management team included Ferrell B. Hannah and H.A. Smith. He and his wife, Margaret, later lived in the beautiful Westover Manor (subject of a previous column) on Walnut Street Extension. In 1924, George withdrew from the business causing the formation of a corporation, Hannah’s, Inc. The incorporators were Harry A. Smith, Ferrell R. Hannah and Kyle Slaughter.
The George S. Hannah Co. covered a complete line for men, women and children’s wearing apparel. However, Hannah’s Inc. narrowed its business focus to only men and boys. It featured such nationally known product lines as “Kuppenheimer and Griffon Clothiers, Nettleton and Nunn-Buss Shoes, Dobbs and Style Park Hats, Interwoven Hosiery, Manhattan and Arrow Shirts, Manhattan and Vasser Underwear and Pajamas, Resilio and Beau Brummel Neckwear, Knit-Tex Top Coats, Lilly Baggage and Bradley Sweaters.”
It its ads, Hannah’s Inc. singled out several brands to promote why they stocked them at their establishment:
Griffon Clothers (“Established in 1862, L. Grief & Brothers, Inc.”), Endicott Johnson Shoes (“For men and boys at popular prices in Hannah’s Annex. We carry a full line of these well known shoes and recommend them for service and satisfaction to the thriftiest buyer.”), Dutchess Trousers, (10 cents a button, $1.00 a rip. Free from loose buttons, seams and belt loops that rip, inaccurate size markings and other common annoyances.), Tom Sawyer Shirts. For real boys at Hannah’s, no boy’s shirt is more favorably known in Johnson City mothers than Tom Sawyer.), …
Nunn Bush & Weldon Shoe Co. (men’s fine footwear of nationally known merit.), The Middishade Co. (fireproof, Middlishad blue serge suits.), Manhattan Shirts (“The Best Known-Known as the Best.”), Duckhead (overalls made for men and boys. An overall should give you these three things: perfect fit, good appearance and long wear.), Stylepark Hats (something entirely news in the field of modern prices. $5.00 at Hannah’s.) Amdur Clothing Co., Inc. (AAA guaranteed sun proof, Service Surge hand tailored.), …
The Excelsior Shoe Company (We feature the Grant Flexated and Excelsior fine shoe for men.), Morris Asinof & Sons, Inc. (Boy’s Students’ and Young men’s Clothing of Merit.) and Resilio Cravats (“In motor cars, it is Speed. In tobacco, it is taste. In cravats, it is resilience that counts. Why? Because a tie is discarded when it lost its freshness, its smart lines. A Resilio cravat always had that “just out of the box” newness. A patented hand-tailored construction is the secret. Look for the loose stand of silk thread in the lining.
To those of us who grew up in Johnson City, today’s column takes us on yet another pleasurable remembrance journey to the often crowded and festive downtown area that we loved so much and visited often.