yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

United Grocery Company
Our 50th Year, 1905-1955

from the collection of Brenda Fiddler

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J. W. Enochs, B. C. Edenton, Sr., H. E. Graper and W. C. Fanning, a group of sufficient boldness and acumen to realize the possibilities of such a venture.

Their faith and confidence was amply rewarded in the first year of operation, when gross receipts reached $140,000 – a sizeable sum for those days, and almost twice the volume of business which had been anticipated.

For ten years, these gentlemen built their business structure – the first of its kind in the area which it served.  The company gradually permeated even the most remote hills and hollows, and boosted the living standards of people who had been accustomed to the primitive barter system of exchange.  Promotional plans were introduced; backwoods and community stores became grocery stores in the present meaning of the term.  Regular distribution eliminated the necessity of depending on the smokehouse as the principal source of preserved foods, and packaged commodities brought cleanliness and convenience into the kitchen.  The days of canning became shorter days, and the rural housewife could breathe a sign of relief.

Over the ten-year period, the company justified its short existence by paying the stockholders an annual dividend of ten per cent; with the exception of two years when the owners received eight per cent on their investment.  In another of those years, the stockholders were paid twelve per cent – enough to

[picture caption]

J. W. Enochs [lower center] and W. W. hay, pictured in the office of Enochs-Edenton

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