Baker-Flick Department Store

Baker-Flick Store - 1928

A landmark in Camden for over 30 years, the Baker-Flick Company store’s origins go back to 1866 when John F. Chew founded what evolved into a dry goods business at 216 Market Street. His sons John H. Chew and Christopher C. Chew both worked in the store. John F. Chew passed away in 1882. Christopher C. Chew took over the business after his father’s death in 1882, and by 1890 had expanded the business to 214 Market Street. After Christopher Chew’s death in 1899, his wife Jennie ran the business. The store was also known as Chew’s Bee Hive… note the hive in front of the fourth floor window.

Christopher C. Chew took over the business, while John H. Chew established a shop of his own next door at 218-220 Market Street. By 1890 Christopher C. Chew had built a new building at 214 Market Street and conducted his trade out of both buildings.

On the night of November 28, 1898 the store of John H. Chew at 218-220 Market Street was destroyed by fire. On October 29, 1899 Christopher C. Chew died of complications from a gunshot wound received while serving in he armed forces during the Spanish American War. John H. Chew re-opened in South Camden, while Christopher C. Chew’s widow, Jennie Chew, continued to do business at 214-216 Market Street.

In November of 1908 the Baker-Flick Company was incorporated by George C. Baker, John A. Flick, and David T. Pyle. They bought Mrs. Chew’s business and erected a new building at 214-220 Market Street, with an entrance on North 3rd Street, which remained open under the Baker-Flick name into the late 1930s.

Partner John A. Flick, who took an active interest in the promotion of business activity in Camden, died on April 1, 1927 at the age of 47. Leonard Baker took over operations and was running the store in the winter of 1938. This may have been a contributing factor to the business’ eventual closing as the lack of a succession plan within the family was a factor in the demise of the Hurley department store on Broadway. By 1940 the business had closed. The building was vacant when the 1940 City Directory was compiled.

The Golden Rule Department Store operated in the location for a few years afterward, but had closed 1947.

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