In 1895, H. G. Hill Stores first opened its doors in Nashville, TN. In September 1922, the chain, an early proponent of the cash and carry movement, opened its first New Orleans stores at Banks and Salcedo. By the end of 1922, six stores were in operation with eleven more stores planned. To say they were big is an understatement. The company credited its success to a number of factors, including the elimination of credit, adopting a cash and carry plan and buying in bulk. A year later, in September 1923, the chain boasted 26 stores.
Not only did Hill Stores offer competitive pricing, they made it a point to woo the shopper by various means, such as presenting displays of the latest in kitchen technology, contests such as the Jinky contest of 1933 (Jinkys were like cutout snowflakes), offering discounted tickets to Audubon and City Park and lavish giveaways.
The first Hill warehouse, located on S. Liberty Street, moved to the 1001 S. Broad Street location in mid-1926. The warehouse played a small role in the 1927 Mississippi River Flood, though they may have made a virtue of necessity. According to reports, the warehouse (location not pinpointed in the article) “. . . was in a flooded area and their fleet of trucks was unable to make deliveries.” Hill employees loaded milk into boats and delivered it to victims of the flood, giving two bottles to families with children and one bottle to others.
It appears that the railroad spurs, built to accommodate deliveries at the building, needed the permission of city fathers. Too, built in the early 1950s, the S. Broad overpass changed the open street design and helped create the funky little pocket that ArtEgg exists in today.
Hill Stores became ubiquitous to New Orleans’ city landscape. By the late 1940s, other businesses would reference Hill Stores in their own advertisements as a landmark to navigate by. H. G. Hill Stores generously donated to the Community Chest and acted as a dissemination point for government information such as when federal housing information could be found at the stores in 1934. In 1935, the franchise hosted a home expo show at the Municipal Auditorium.
During the Depression and into the late 1940s, the 1001 S. Broad location became the hiring center for the Hill enterprise. This later moved further up S. Broad to the 2500 block of S. Broad.
On July 18, 1956, H. G. Hill Stores, Inc. dissolved and the following day, the Times-Picayune published a notice that the chain had been sold to Winn-Dixie. The store continued operations under the Hill name but a new warehouse and distribution center would be constructed, rendering the S. Broad Street location redundant. By January 1958, the S. Broad location was listed for sale or rent and it disappears from the newspapers, later being sold to the Frank family in 1964.