After only one year at the Poindexter address, the company relocated to 217 North Water Street (once again finding itself next to the Weatherly Candy Company), which was three and a half blocks from 110 South Water Street, on the opposite side of the street.
At this time in 1938, the company changed its name to JENNETTE FRUIT & PRODUCE COMPANY and started wholesaling fruit and produce to retail groceries. During this period in the history of the city, there was a small “Mom and Pop” grocery store on almost every street corner. The firm also operated its own trucking operation by hauling fruit from Florida and bananas from Charleston and Norfolk.
As the decade of the 1940s ended, Warren Jennette retired and two of the brothers, Bill and Walton, sold their shares to their youngest brother, Bertrand Jennette, and his cousin, Bill McCain. After returning from service in World War II, Bertrand had operated a local confectionary called Whaley Shop and helped manage the family’s bus line. Bill McCain had graduated from Duke University and was looking for an opportunity in business. This change in ownership left Carter (the older brother), Bertrand, and Bill McCain as the principals in the Jennette Fruit & Produce Company. After selling their shares in the business, Bill Jennette left to open a clothing store and Walton operated two restaurants. Warren Jr. had left earlier to devote his time to the family fishing pier in Nags Head. Jennette Fruit & Produce Company employees had helped to build the pier during the summer seasons, which was then the slowest time of the year for the company.
This aerial photograph from the 1940s shows the Jennette Fruit and Produce Company location at 217 North Water Street (third building from the right) next to the Weatherly candy company. There were six separate businesses in the city’s block.
From the 1930s to the early 1970s, Jennette Fruit & Produce Company delivered fresh fruit and produce to area accounts in orange-painted, wooden bodies with complimentary green canvas covers.
This is a copy of a handwritten letter authored by H. Carter Jennette and sent to a produce broker in Norfolk, requesting a credit on an invoice.
In the 1950s, the firm continued to market produce and specialize in bananas by ripening its own fruit. During this period, Water Street was a center of wholesaling and manufacturing in the city, but changes were rapidly occurring in the retail grocery business which would influence the owners of the company to plan for a new direction.