2101 Barhamville Road2101 Barhamville Road
The first M.H. Baxley Grocery store existed in the 1930s at 1309 Gregg Street. By the 1940s had expanded to a second location at 2339 Elmwood Avenue—where Hill’s Barber Shop stands today. By 1962, the location of Baxley Grocery Store in Kendalltown had moved across the street to its present location. The owner and operator of the Baxley Grocery stores was Manning Hartford Baxley, a native South Carolinian and African American entrepreneur who, in addition to his grocery stores (one was also located in Kershaw, S.C.), founded the Hartford Nursing Home and the Town and Tourist Motel on the corner of Harden and Lady streets. Baxley was also reputed to have owned the first African American dairy in Columbia--Baxley’s Dairy.
Baxley’s entrepreneurial success paved the way for his selection as one of five Columbia members of the State Advisory Council for Small Business Administration in 1967, and he was honored as Business Man of the Year by Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. Baxley’s wife, Beulah, was also a dynamic member of the local African American community, serving during the 1950s and 1960s as a chairwoman of the United Negro College Fund and the Negro Girl Scouts of South Carolina, as well as sitting on the board of several Christian service organizations affiliated with Wesley Methodist Church. In 1971, Beulah Baxley was elected to help preside at the annual meeting of the South Carolina United Methodist Conference that voted on the merger of black and white Methodist churches in South Carolina. Manning H. Baxley died in Columbia in 1980. His stores are no longer operating, but the buildings for “M.H. Baxley’s Groceries” at 1309 Gregg Street and “Baxley’s Produce and Grocery” at 2101 Barhamville Road still stand today.