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During the decade of the 1930s, the local farming economy suffered as the price of crops fell and the number of foreclosures increased. This turn of events during the Great Depression forced Jennette Brothers to downsize its operation by exiting the farm implement business. Closing out its operation at 112 Water Street, the firm moved by 1937 to a smaller building at 200 North Poindexter Street.

Meat Counter Thumpers

A butcher’s shop occupied the building for many years after Jennette Fruit & Seed moved out in 1938. In this early photograph to the left, Mr. Pritchard (the owner) and a helper stand proudly behind the meat counter. Prior to Pritchard’s Meat Market, the John Banks Grocery and Eagle Café had occupied the site. It is currently occupied by Thumpers Downtown Bar, shown in the photograph to the right.

Jennette Brothers Jennette Brothers

Warren Jennette and five of his sons. Clockwise from top left: Warren Sr., Warren Jr., Carter, Jack, Walton, and Bill. During the Great Depression, Warren Sr. announced that he had only enough funds to send one son to college, so the boys drew straws to see who it would be. Jack won the draw, went to college, and later became a practicing attorney in Elizabeth City. The remainder of the sons entered the family business.* Bill later opened a men’s clothing store in downtown Elizabeth City. On the right, Five of the Jennette brothers in later years. Clockwise from top left: Bertrand, Walton, Bill, Jack and Warren Jr. All five were members of the Elizabeth City Elks Club.

A grocery and café had previously operated at this location. The company was renamed JENNETTE FRUIT & SEED. Lawrence left the company and his brother, Warren, was joined by four of his sons (Warren Jr., Carter, Bill and Walton). The firm started to specialize in marketing fruit and produce.