Thalhimers moved to its flagship store at Seventh and Broad streets in 1922 and closed in 1992. The building was demolished last year to make way for the proposed downtown performing arts center.
The woman who nearly discarded the collectibles was a loyal Thalhimers shopper, Chatman says. He found a collection of "about 100 pieces of clothing," shoes and hats that she had been collecting since the 1930s. Some were dirty from dust and long storage, while others remained pristine.
Chatman also found a collection of old photographs of the lady's family, some dating back to the 1920s, which he plans to bring to the Historic Jackson Ward Museum.
But the most unusual treasures were two antique breakfast accoutrements; a gleaming, in-the-box chrome toaster from the '50s or '60s, and an unopened tin of Thalhimers brand coffee.
Chatman was surprised at the find, which he guesses dates from around the '40s or '50s. "To find a can of Thalhimers coffee that's just unreal," he says, adding, "I'd be curious as to what other brands of Thalhimers were sold also. Maybe you had teas, maybe you had mustard, I don't know."
If you want to see his collection, stop by the old Mann Furniture Co. building on Second Street, just north of Broad, during the 2nd Street Festival Sept. 30-Oct. 2. And if you long to smell some Thalhimers coffee, you can always bargain for the tin.
You could even try making an authentic cup of 50-year-old coffee. "I wouldn't myself, personally," Chatman says. Melissa Scott Sinclair
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