October 23, 2015
This week’s PopCulteer is entirely devoted to a photo essay of Berdine’s Five and Dime, in Harrisville, West Virginia. Your PopCulteer and his wife took a day trip up there a couple of weeks ago after hearing about this legendary establishment for years. We were not disappointed.
It’s like a portal to another time
It was a brisk drive on a sunny day, with the leaves just starting to turn. From Charleston, you just head North on I 77 untill you hit the junction with Route 50 in Parkersburg. Head East on 50 for about half an hour until you see the exit for Route 31, then just follow that winding country road and it takes you straight to Harrisville where you go right through the first stop light (when it’s green, of course) and you’ll see Berdine’s half a block later, on your right.
Berdine’s Five and Dime has been in continuous operation in Harrisville, West Virginia since 1908. It is a nostalgia addict’s Mecca. This is like walking back in time. I’m just barely old enough to remember when Ben Franklins and other stores like this dotted small towns the way Dollar General and Family Dollar do today, only the Five and Dimes were way more cool than what we have now. Basically, a Five-and-Dime is a small store crammed full of enough inventory for a modern store three or four times its size. Berdine’s keeps that tradition alive.
Classy reading material on sale
Berdine’s is America’s Oldest Dime store. Under their pressed tin ceilings you will find bins of novelties, tin toys, bulk candies, old-time remedies, hillbilly joke items, jewelry and household goods, organized and laid out just like the Dime Stores of old.
As they say on their website: “Berdine’s continues to evoke memories while providing practical and purely nonsensical merchandise. Bulk candy from our antique oak case, bins of old time and inexpensive toys that you remember from your childhood, gifts for special occasions that you will not find elsewhere. We also carry unique books and old time remedies along with kitchen gadgets and soaps and cleaning products that have been used for generations. If you cannot find it anywhere else – try Berdine’s! Your grandparents did!”
I’ve been reading about this place for years, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be. The store is only 1,500 scare feet, but we spent an hour there and felt like we’d just scratched the surface. I can guarantee that we will make many return trips. The pictures will say more than I possibly could.
You can visit Berdine’s Five and Dime at 106 North Court Street, Harrisville, West Virginia 26362. Their telephone number is (304)643-2217. The store is open from 9 AM to 5 PM every day except Sunday, and they also have a website. If you visit in person, bring cash or a check. Berdine’s does not accept credit cards. You can also “like” them on Facebook.
The promised land!