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From Burdines to Eckerd Drugs — some of Florida’s lost businesses

Eliot Kleinberg
The Palm Beach Post
When William S. Burdine's Polk County citrus crop was wiped out by the 1895 freeze, he and a partner opened a dry goods store in Bartow. In 1896, Burdine bought out his partner and sent his son, John, to the tiny fishing village of Miami. The Burdines moved their operations to Miami in 1898.

Readers:In January Florida Time listed some erstwhile Florida-based businesses. Here’s more:

Jackson Byrons

The popular Miami-based shopping destination for middle-income Floridians in the 1960s and 1970s started as Jackson’s Red Cross Pharmacy in pioneer Miami. In the 1990s, it renovated stores and changed its name to JByrons and then Byrons. In 1996, its New York-based parent converted the stores to Uptons, an Atlanta retail chain it also owned. Uptons failed in 1999.

Jordan Marsh

The upscale department store was founded in 1956 in Miami. In 1991, stores changed over to Burdines.

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Burdines

It dubbed itself “The Florida Store.” William Burdine, a former Civil War prisoner from Mississippi, opened his first store in Miami in 1898. In 2003, it was announced that Burdines would become Macy’s/Burdines, and by 2005, it just was Macy’s.

Eckerd Drugs

Jack Eckerd, son of a Delaware drugstore owner, bought three rundown stores in 1952 for $150,000. By 1975 he was reported to be worth $150 million. Recession and overexpansion in the 1980s hampered profits. The chain was sold to J.C. Penney in 1996 and then to rival CVS in 2004.

Storefront of Eckerd Drugs in Tallahassee's Northwood Mall on opening day, September 30, 1969.

Regal Beer

Made by the American Brewing Co., just northwest of downtown Miami, Regal never was a national bestseller, but it was affordable — three quarts for a buck — and thus popular with both the locals and the hordes of military men who came to Florida to train during World War II. At its height, it sold 233,000 barrels a day. Brewing goliath Anheuser-Busch bought out American in 1958 but lost it three years later to Baltimore-based National Brewing in an antitrust suit. The brewery eventually closed, and the building was demolished in 1976.

Chalk’s

Remember the George Michael “Careless Whisper” video, with the seaplane shooting across Biscayne Bay? Many people remember watching the planes depart Watson Island, just off downtown Miami, and pass the cruise ships on their way to the Bahamas. It’s one of Miami’s more iconic images. Flying since 1919, Chalk’s boasted it was the nation’s oldest continuously operating airline. In 2005, a wing fell off a 58-year-old Chalk’s plane and it dropped into the bay near Miami Beach, killing 20. The incident crippled the small company, and the seaplanes were phased out.

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Mackey Airlines

Former World War II commander Joseph Mackey bought three Lockheeds and started a Fort Lauderdale-based service to the Bahamas. He sold it to Eastern in 1967, started a new airline, sold that in 1978 and retired, and died in February 1982. Mackey stopped operations in October 1981.

Eliot Kleinberg has been a staff writer for the past three decades at The Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, and is the author of 10 books about Florida (www.ekfla.com).

This article originally appeared on palmbeachpost.com