What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?
“He entreats a Continuation of Messrs. DAVID and JOHN DEAS’s Customers.”
Andrew Lord launched a new enterprise in the spring of 1768, at least an enterprise that was new to him. He took to the pages of the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journalto announce that he had “bought out Messrs. DAVID and JOHN DEAS, and taken the Stores and house lately occupied by them.” He planned to sell all of the merchandise already on hand, pledging to part with it “very low.” Prospective customers enjoyed bargain prices as the new proprietor attempted to clear out the existing inventory.
In addition to inviting new patrons to his store, Lord hoped to invoke loyalty among customers who already shopped there when it still belonged to the previous owners: “He entreats a Continuation of Messrs. DAVID and JOHN DEAS’s Customers.” This was not loyalty to the purveyors of goods but rather loyalty to the goods themselves. Lord implied that since the Deas’s former customers appreciated the wares they had previously purchased that they would continue to be satisfied as they selected among the inventory he had obtained. He much more explicitly, however, invited the Deas’s customers to give him a chance to demonstrate that he could serve them just as well as the former proprietors had done. He stressed that “he expects a compleat Assortment of GOODS by the first Vessels from London and Bristol,” an assortment that he believed maintained the standards that customers had come to anticipate when making purchases in the store he now operated.
The existing clientele may have factored into Lord’s decision to acquire a shop and inventory owned by two of Charleston’s most prominent merchants and slave traders. According to his advertisement, he certainly hoped that familiarity with the location and merchandise would convince previous patrons to continue making purchases at the same store, especially since he offered low prices and an extensive selection. The proprietor had changed, but other aspects of the business remained the same. Accordingly, there was no need to seek out other vendors, at least not without first giving Lord the opportunity to demonstrate that customers would not experience any disruption in the experience they had come to expect when shopping at that store.