Yesterday (May 18), this building was completely gutted by fire.
It’s latest label had been as an IGA, before Food City opened their downtown location on the former Kingsport Press property. The IGA closed shortly thereafter. Earlier, it had been a White’s Supermarket, but it had been built as Oakwood Market #2 in 1949 and was the first of the grocery stores to make up what would be known as Supermarket Row, along Canal Street. Wallace Boyd, Sr. had come into Kingsport from Kentucky and had opened the first Oakwood Market in Greenacres in 1947 (this is from a story in a 1947 issue of the Kingsport Times).
The store in Greenacres had an “exotic” canned food section that mom and I would drop by and snicker at. Chocolate-covered grasshoppers and snails and the like. But, like some of the things you see in antique stores, they hadn’t moved in years.
Btw, when Oakwood #2 was built, it had a waterfall on top. It was a triangular structure over the middle of the building. At the top of this, say, 20′ waterfall was the Oakwood sign, painted by Carter’s Art Shop (I used to know a guy who did some of the painting), and under it, on either side, was a continuously-cycling flow of water down a simulated rock waterfall. Most amazing. It is the nature of water to go anywhere there’s an opening, so I suspect that it leaked.
World War II had ended a little over a year before this ad was published in the July 1946 Intermountain Telephone Company Telephone Directory for Kingsport, Gate City and Sullivan Gardens. Dobyns-Taylor was, in essence, priming the pump. Little did they know the flood of products that would soon wash over them.
This corner building, the red brick part, was once known as the Shaheen Building and home of the Palace of Sweets, owned by Charles Joseph, Sr., who had come here from Lebanon (the country). He and M.F. Kabool (of Iager or Iaeger WV) opened the Phoenix Restaurant here (302 East Sullivan) in 1927. It was remodeled in 1937, to much celebration in the local newspaper. Apparently, it was a quite well respected eatery.
It was still open in 1948, but I lose track of it after that. It wasn’t the open as the Phoenix in 1957-1959, when I lived downtown, but the large sign over the doorway was still there. Years ago, I asked my stepdad if he knew anything about the place (he’d been in Kingsport in the 30s) and he recalled staying in one of the rooms upstairs.
Down from the Phoenix…I think where the other red brick building is, was the Liberty Cafe (305 East Sullivan), also owned by Mr. Joseph. The building in the light tan brick was, in 1959, part of McKarem’s Department Store.
In 1947, the Phoenix Grill advertised aggressively in the paper that it sold beer by the case for off premise consumption…and they’d deliver!