West Virginia July 14, 2018
West Virginia’s Oldest Five And Dime Store Is Worth A Day Trip
The history of a region is never more well defined than through the physical remains of its past. It is for this reason that there are government programs whose sole purpose it is to protect historical building and monuments. To remember the places that mark our past and inform our future. Some of these places remain not only standing but still active. West Virginia’s oldest five and dime store is one such place.
Berdine's was opened in 1908 when K.C. Berdine and his bother Lafayette moved to Harrisville, WV to begin a business venture. Hunt & Berdine's Five and Dime was the result.
Scarcely a year had passed when Lafayette chose to part with his brother to pursue other opportunities, leaving the business in the hands of K.C. and his wife.
It had only been a year, but the store (now just called Berdine's) had already gained popularity with the townspeople, no doubt strengthened by K.C.'s promise that no item in their store would rise above 10 cents.
In 1915, the store was relocated to its current location along Court street. The first floor of the new building was specifically built to house Berdine's shop.
For the next 46 years, K.C. ran the shop before passing ownership to his son, Fred, who ran the store for another 28 years.
In 1983, Fred sold the business to the Six family, who resided in Harrisville.
By that time, the store had modernized, complete with neon signs and updated counters and shelves. Since ownership of the business was passed on to the Six family, they have restored the original look of the store, removing the neon signs and restoring the old counters. They even put the original cash register back behind the counter, more for nostalgic reasons than for actual use, especially since the register cannot ring up items higher than $3.99.
A visit to the store today will allow you to find unusual and unique items that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.
They have everything you can imagine, such as unique journals, books, vintage toys, handmade soaps, jams and jellies, and various items that really have no home other than on the shelves at Berdine's.
You can also find a fair amount of normal items, such as yarn, magnets and household supplies, but in between certain products you will come across curio items — some for decoration, some for collecting. You will also find many vintage products that hearken back to a time when the store was still young — remnants of a past long gone.
However, one of the more unique parts of the store is the vintage candy counter.
The counter displays candies that are not packaged like modern sweets but displayed as unbranded bowls of candy that can be purchased by weight, much like a local deli, which is how candies were originally sold for years.
You can also find branded items with a vintage feel, that are more like souvenirs that remind you of your visit to the historic store and its long legacy.
Ultimately, a visit to Berdine's is truly a step back in time, both inside and out. The prices may be higher than 10 cents these days, but the experience is priceless.
Berdine's Five & Dime is located at 106 North Court St. in Harrisville.
Have you ever been to Berdine’s Five and Dime? Feel free to comment below and tell us about your visit.
Photographs are another well-defined connection to our past because images convey an unmatched truth and honesty. Check out
these photos that are among the oldest ever taken in West Virginia — they’re incredible.