925 Gervais Street
Site of Max Aberman's Dry Goods Store
Max Aberman (1881-1919) operated a dry goods retail business in this building from 1915 until his death in 1919. His wife, Celia Aberman (1888-1944), continued to operate the business for another year with the help of his brother, Gustave Gergel (1898-1927). According to Max’s niece, Shirley Gergel Ness (b. 1928), Max was the first of four brothers who immigrated to the United States from Alexandrovka, Russia:
“…the oldest brother, by the name of Max Aberman. He took the name of Aberman, which was his wife’s maiden name because he did not want to be drafted into the Russian army. They came over much earlier. They came sometime in the early 1900s.”
Max immigrated in 1904 and settled in Columbia in 1908. His wife, Celia, and daughter, Olga, arrived from Russia in 1909. In the 1910 United States Census, he is listed as a “traveling salesman – dry goods,” indicating that he was likely a peddler for another established merchant. His brother, Isidore Gergel (1892 – 1963), immigrated in 1913, and two more brothers, Joseph Gergel (1890 – 1976) and Gustave Gergel (1898 – 1927), arrived the following year. All three brothers worked as clerks or peddlers at Max’s store off and on until he died of influenza in early 1919.