South Charlotte

A piece of Rock Hill history is about to recline

On June 20, 1959, Sadie Morrison bought two linoleum rugs from Jackson Furniture, one for her front room and another for the kitchen.

Almost a half-century later, Morrison's name and the particulars of her purchase can be found in a stack of faded note cards deep inside the store on Rock Hill's East Main Street. Thousands of sales are handwritten on these cards, creating a time capsule that tells the story of Billy Jackson's life.

Jackson Furniture will close on Sept. 13, adding its name to the list of family-owned businesses that thrived in Rock Hill before people could drive to Wal-Mart or Carolina Place Mall.

“If the economy was going full blast, I'd still like to stay down here,” Jackson, 54, said last week, between visits from a handful of customers. “It's a good time for me financially to go ahead and get out. I'm proud that we made it this long.”

Jackson was 5 when his father, William Jr., opened on Chatham Avenue in a row of businesses that once stood across from the Cotton Factory. When the city razed the building to put in Dave Lyle Boulevard in the late 1960s, Jackson Furniture moved to its permanent home on East Main Street.

It hasn't changed much. The main showroom is filled with rows of wooden dressers, couches and cloth recliners.

Customers could sign up for cash-and-carry plans, paying as little as $4 a month if that's what it took.

This is where Nora Bell Jamison came when one of her seven children broke a kitchen chair or tore up a sofa. Asked where else she would go, Jamison didn't have an answer. “Haven't figured that out,” she said. “Guess I'll have to do without. Nobody's gonna treat me like he does.”

After Jackson graduated from The Citadel in 1976, he went to work at South Carolina National Bank for six years before getting a job offer he couldn't turn down. “My dad was ready to retire,” Jackson recalled. “I said, ‘Well, let me come down here and run this thing.'”

Someone else could rent the property and keep the store running, but Jackson doesn't expect the next tenant to do that.