Abroms/ J.C. Penney/ PSI

  • <p>This early street scene shows the location of the current building at the far left of the image. That building housed many different businesses before it burned in 1946.</p>
  • <p>Bidwell's Cafe operated here in 1918. </p>
  • <p>In the 1920's, the building on this lot was a billiard parlor. In this photograph, it is the building on the left with the horizontal "Billiards" sign.</p>
  • <p>When the Abroms Department Store opened in 1947, it was one of the most modern-looking buildings in Florence.</p>
  • <p>1947 ad for Abroms Department Store.</p>
  • <p>J.C. Penney Co. moved into the store in 1950.</p>
  • <p>Abroms Department Store operated in this building from 1947 until 1950.</p>
  • <p>S.C. Toof Printing Co. ad from 1946</p>
  • <p>Ad for J.C. Penney's Grand Opening, August 31, 1950.</p>
  • <p>S.C. Toof Printing Company was the forerunner to Printers and Stationers Incorporated</p>
  • <p>Ad for J.C. Penney's Grand Opening, August 31, 1950. </p>
  • <p>W.D. Brooks remodeled the Abroms Department Store for the J.C. Penney Co. in 1950.</p>
  • <p>J.C. Penney's operated in this building until 1981, when Printers and Stationers Incorporated moved into the building.</p>

Abroms/ J.C. Penney/ PSI

113 North Court Street

This building has a long history as a retail center in downtown Florence. The building was designed by the architecture firm Marr and Holman of Nashville, TN, and was constructed by Daniels Construction Co. from Birmingham. It is a three-story building with a cut-stone and limestone facade, and was one of the most modern-looking buildings in downtown Florence when it was built. This is not the original building on this site, however.

Early Businesses

As early as 1894, there was a drug store located on this site. In the early 1900’s the store expanded to sell groceries and dry goods. From 1913 through the early 1920’s, it housed restaurants such as Rice and Vaughan, Bidwell’s Café, and the Crystal Café. Pastime Billiards was located here in 1926. By the mid-1930’s and into the 1940’s, different clothing stores operated out of the original building, including Sears & Roebuck. By 1945, the building was vacant.

  • <p>J.C. Penney's operated in this building until 1981, when Printers and Stationers Incorporated moved into the building.</p>

Abroms Department Store

Florence survived the Great Depression with help from the Federal government and its creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA brought jobs, electricity, and economic stability to the Shoals region. By the close of World War II, many Florence businesses were prospering because of the impact of TVA. Abroms Department Store was one of these companies, and they began construction of the current building in 1946 after a fire destroyed the original structure on this lot. The store took longer than expected to build because of material shortages that plagued the nation after World War II, but opened in late 1947. Constructed of steel and concrete, the new Abroms Department store boasted air conditioning throughout, oil heat, a sprinkler system, pink terrazzo floor tiles in the lobby, and display windows with special light reflectors. Shoes, general merchandise, and family wear departments were located in the basement, while ladies apparel was located on the first floor. The store had an alterations room and the mezzanine was reserved for piece goods and infants and children’s clothing, while the third floor accommodated household goods and electric appliances. In the late 1940’s, Abroms was a premier retail store in downtown Florence.

  • <p>J.C. Penney Co. moved into the store in 1950.</p>

J.C. Penney

Abroms Department store moved out of this building in 1950, when J.C. Penney moved in. Penney’s was a large national chain founded in 1902 that had 1,600 stores throughout the nation by 1941. The company operated a store in downtown Florence from 1950 until the early 1980’s, outlasting a trend that saw large retail centers begin to move away from downtown centers in the mid-1960s.

Printers & Stationers, Inc.

In 1980, Printers & Stationers, Inc. moved into this building. PSI was founded in 1965 when Jessie Cox purchased the interests of Toof Printing and Stationary Company. Toof’s, and later PSI, stood at 216 North Court Street until the store moved into the current building.


The original Abroms building was influenced by the International style, with a long, horizontal ribbon of windows across the second floor façade. The building was clad in granite panels and the first floor display window stretched across the entire façade. The building’s appearance suggested modernity and progress.