The Age of the Downtown Department Store

July 24, 2012 46 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Before shopping malls took over the Jacksonville region, downtown's streets were once lined with grand department stores. In honor of the upcoming 100 year anniversary of the Cohen Brother's St. James Building (now city hall), and with our second book currently in production, Metro Jacksonville takes a look at a few retailing landmarks from yesteryear and encourages our readers to share their memories of a retail era gone bye.

J.B. Ivey & Company

J.B. Ivey & Company was established in Charlotte, North Carolina by Joseph Benjamin in 1900.  In 1962, Ivey's opened a six story, 180,000 square foot department store as a part of Robert S. Jacobs' Downtown Center project.  At the time, the store, which featured a Brown's Restaurant on the 3rd floor, was the chain's 7th and first major department store constructed in a United States downtown location in 30 years.  Free parking was available for the first two hours in the garage under the building. After years of struggling partially due to road closures associated with the conversion of Hemming Park to a Plaza, Ivey's closed their downtown Jacksonville store in August 1984.

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