Retracing and preserving Union’s history...: Union businesses in the 20th century

By TERESA BLOUNT,

Readers might recall isolated businesses around and after the 1950s that have not been previously discussed in this column. Several of them are still serving the people of Union today.

Blackburn Brothers of Decatur had opened their Frigidaire Appliance business in 1949, in the small store between Western Auto and Cleveland Grocery on Main Street. In June 1950, Leon Gardner and Clay Houston began their electrical appliance service working out of the store. In 1951, they both moved to the former Tovar Café building, then to 225 Main in 1954.

Next, Ralph Gardner worked with the Blackburns. Finally, Ralph and Leon Gardner bought them out in 1958 and moved to 110 Bank St., in 1959. The business closed in 2006.

In 1953, Lester White opened a Norge Appliance Store in the L of his store that opened on Main Street. The door to that store is still located beside Dr. L.B. Adkins’ former office.

W.L. Mazingo opened Union Saw and Mower at 515 Bank St., in 1971. Leon and Vaughn Gardner opened Weather Control at 512 Bank St., in 1973.  In 1974, Mark Herrington developed North Pines Trailer Park, which later became North Pines Street. In 1976, Guthrie’s TV Service opened at 204 Main St., in the former Irene’s building. Also, in 1976, the Rag Barn opened at 100 Main St., in the old Luke & Co. warehouse.

In 1978, Austin Smith began his Smith’s Small Engine Repair with his father, Norris O. Smith, at 201 Horne St. Norris had begun repair work in 1929 in a small shop west of the First Baptist Church. Along with working at the Chevrolet dealership in town, N.O. later worked in a shop behind his home on Horne Street.

In 1979, Henry Finley opened Finley Lawn Mower Repair at 515 Bank St.

Union Farm Center (Lauderdale Co. Farm Supply) opened on Front Street in the old Ogletree Farm Supply building with Kenny Coghlan as manager. Tommy Atkins opened his Tommy’s Radiator Service at 504 S. Decatur St. He had previously worked a pick-up and delivery business. His business is still in operation.

Gail Long built a new building on Hwy 492 East and opened County Line Country boutique in 1987. She closed in 1990; the building was then sold and used as a home. Soon after in 1987, Martha Moore opened the Southern Planter, another boutique, at 202 Old Decatur Road.

In 1990, Janie Mason opened Mason Snack Shop at 205 Russell St.

In 1991, Laird Fitness opened at 204 Main St., the former Irene’s building. In 1992, Jeffrey Hopkins bought Buddy Langley’s poultry distributorship and building on McRaven Street.

Tommy Hagan opened H & H Pawn Shop at 108 Main St., in 1994. His store is still open today. Bennie and Kim Lee bought Union Auto Parts at 225 Main and changed it to Parts Plus in 1999.

Keith Byram started Aristocrat Limousine Service 2001. Jimmy and Tasha Payne opened Payne Family Fitness at 105 and 107 Bank Street in 2008. The area at 107 is still in service today.

In 2008, Josh Parker opened Focused Productions, a photography studio, at 307 Bank St., before moving to 202 Main. In 2010, Dennis Weaver of Sebastopol bought Union Finance, which has been open on Horne Street since the mid-1960s. It remains open today. In 2014, Sakina Gill opened Envy Her, a dress shop at 112 Main St.

In 2015, Renee Adkins opened Mass Mutual Financial Group in the 109 S. Main Street building. It closed in 2016, and Renee then opened Firm Foundations Financial Insurance and Financial Services. Dr. Joe Jacobs and Barry Smith opened Integrative Wellness at 105B Pine St., in 2015, but closed the next year. A U-Haul dealership was opened at 303 Main in April after Union Powersports moved out. It closed in 2017.

Nell Rowley founded Free ‘N Deed ministries in September 2010. They have moved to 112 ½ Main St., in 2016. Union Funeral Consultants moved into the 308 Main Street building, but the business closed and the building was sold to First Baptist Church for the church office in April 2019. In 2016, Directional Drilling, owned by Josh Richardson and Brent Miley and located at 106 Bank St., closed.

In 2017, Robert Carleton III opened an ice and water machine business at 706 Jackson Road.  Later in the year, he and Robbie Knight offered Mosquito Joe for control of outside insects.

After many years, the Mississippi Power Co. office in Union closed in October 2018. Finally, in 2019, Brad Warren bought the vacant Union Service Station on Jackson Road and changed the name to Brad’s Service Station.

If you have additional information on any of these businesses, please contact me at teresablount26@yaho.com or 601-774-5564.

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