Rogers Surprise Store/Department Store

Dublin Core


Rogers Surprise Store/Department Store


Downtown Businesses


The Rogers Bros. Surprise Store, eventually Department Store, was a retail fixture in downtown Florence from the late 1890s to the early 2000s. Opened in 1894 as the Surprise Store in downtown Florence by Major B.A. Rogers and his sons, the Surprise Store was famous for its reasonable prices for high quality goods. From the corner of Court and Mobile Street, the Rogers Surprise Store sold almost anything a person needed from hardware to clothing and toys to textiles. The Surprise Store was a full-line merchandising store able to import high quality goods to downtown Florence. Rogers Surprise Store was the first retail store in the area to do something novel and simple to ease the buying experience: they introduced price tags with set prices on their goods. Instead of having customers coming in to haggle and barter prices and goods with the clerks, the owner, Major Rogers, created the price point system for their store. The pricing system was an advancement in retailing in the Florence area.

The original Rogers Building for the Surprise Store burned to the ground in 1910, and the original wooden building replaced with a multi-story brick structure. The brick structure stood until 1946 when it was remodeled in the Art Deco fashion and modernized into the Rogers Building that stands today at the corner of Court and Mobile Street.


M.C. Fesmire, University of North Alabama


Text Sources:

UNA Archives & Special Collection. McDonald Collection. Vertical History File, “Rogers’ 100th.” Downtown Florence Unlimited, Edition 93, May/June 1994, Florence, Alabama. McDonald Collection: Box 35 Factories and Mills, Factories and Mills Vol.2, Factories and Mills File 2.1, 2.

Picture Source:

UNA Archives & Special Collection, William L. McDonald Collection, “Hotel Negley,” Florence, Alabama, Box 12: Florence Industry, 12-46.


Alabama Cultural Resource Survey


Late Nineteenth-Early Twenty-First Century