David Bentschner & Julius M. Visanska | I. M. Goldberg

252 King Street

In about 1880, David Bentschner (1842–1900) opened a specialty shop, D. Bentschner & Co., inside the large dry goods store (232–234 King Street) managed by his brother-in-law, Louis Cohen. Here Bentschner offered clothes for men, boys, and children. Eventually, Bentschner moved out of Cohen & Co. By 1894, he was established at the southeast corner of King and Hasell streets. Known for customer service and high-quality merchandise, the business lasted until 1933.

Not long after D. Bentschner & Co. settled in at 252 King Street, Julius M. Visanska (1865–1933) came to Charleston and opened a menswear store on the opposite side of King Street, at number 253. Like Bentschner, Visanska catered to prosperous shoppers, and the two men became close. In 1895, Bentschner’s daughter, Sarah Fredericka, married Julius Visanska; in 1896, Visanska sold out his stock of neckwear, underclothing, hats, gloves, collars, and “all gents’ furnishings,” moved across the street, and went into partnership with his father-in-law, doing business as Bentschner & Visanska. Visanska kept the store name, Bentschner & Visanska, after his father-in-law’s death in 1900, and he continued to promote high-end menswear, becoming Charleston’s exclusive dealer for the Hickey-Freeman line. The business survived the Great Depression, but closed following Julius Visanska’s death. His heirs sold 252 King Street, and in 1937, the business became I. M. Goldberg & Bro. furniture store. (The site of the Bentschner/Goldberg building is part of the modern Charleston Place development.)

Bentschner & Visanska advertisement, 1910 Charleston city directory

Bentschner & Visanska advertisement, 1910 Charleston city directory

David Bentschner (d. 1900) and Julius M. Visanska (1865–1933) became business partners in 1896, a year after Julius married David’s daughter, Sarah B. Visanska (1870–1926).