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Timeline of Business and Commerce
in the South

1600s | 1700s | Early-1800s | Mid-1800s | Late-1800s | Early-1900s | Mid-1900s | Late 1900s



1600 - 1700s

Furs, black powder, dry goods, and lumber

Ports at Charleston, SC; Norfolk, VA; Wilmington, NC; Savannah, GA; New Orleans, LA; etc…

In 1790, 93% of the population of the United States was rural, most of them farmers. By 1990, only 200 years later, barely 2% of our population are farmers.

Jacob Beam 'perfects' his formula for distilled whiskey and Jim Beam is created in Kentucky. (1795)

Early 1800s



    · Tobacco
    · Sugar
    · Rice
    · Poultry
    · Cotton

Imperial Sugar is established in the Houston, Texas area. (1843)



Anheuser-Bush starts production in St. Louis, Missouri (1852)

Transportation (i.e. railroads and river)

Industry (brought on by the Industrial Revolution)


Late 1800s

Jack Daniel starts making whiskey in Lynchburg, Tennessee. (1866)

Tabasco hot sauce is first produced in Louisiana. (1868)

1870s - 1880s

Beginning of "New South" era: Reconstruction has ended and business cycle consists of increase in town and industrial growth - steady pressure on farmers.

Southern Comfort is first bottled in Louisiana. (1874)

Dr. Pepper is created in Waco, Texas. (1885)

Atlanta, Georgia pharmacist John S. Pemberton creates Coca-Cola. (1886)

South Trust Bank is started in Birmingham, Alabama. (1887)


Five years of depression followed by relative prosperity.

Barq's Root Beer is established in New Orleans, Louisiana. (1898)

Martha White starts producing flour and baking goods in Tennessee. (1899)

Early 1900s

Rise of the textile industry

The company that eventually will become Wrangler is started in North Carolina. (1904)

The Blue Bell creamery is established in Texas. (1907)

Bryan Foods starts producing meat products in Mississippi. (1909)

The company that will eventually become Riviana Foods Inc. is created by the merger of several rice mills in southern Louisiana. (1911)

Goo Goo Clusters, "the South's favorite candy," introduced in Tennessee.  (1912)

The first Piggly Wiggly opens in Memphis, Tennessee. (1916)

Moon Pie, "the original marshmallow sandwich," invented in Chattanooga, Tennesee.  (1917)

Dixie Crystals starts producing sugar in Georgia. (1917)


Radio Shack, first launched in Ft. Worth, Texas, opens its first store. (1919)

The Southern Company is created from the combining of several power companies, and is based in Georgia. (mid-1920s)

Publix opens for business in Florida. (1930)

Texas Instruments is launched in Texas. (1930)

Krispy Kreme first opens for business in North Carolina. (1937)

Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe perfected in Kentucky.  (1939)

Winn-Dixie is created through the merging of several grocery stores in Florida. (1939)

Lowes opens for business in North Carolina. (1946)

ALFA Insurance Corporation begins offering services in Alabama. (1946)

Mid 1900s

Pace Picante Sauce starts production in San Antonio, Texas. (1947)

NASCAR is created and holds its first official race. (1949)

Military bases

The first of what will become Sonic drive-ins opens in Oklahoma. (1954)

NASA space centers

Food Lion is founded in North Carolina. (1957)

The first Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie is produced in Tennessee. (1960)

Sam Walton opens his first Wal-Mart store in Bentonville, Arkansas. (1962)

The Taco Bueno chain is established in Abilene, Texas. (1967)

B.A.S.S. (Bassmaster), was established in Montgomery, Alabama. (1967)


Late 1900s

Rise of metropolitan areas across Southern landscape; concomitant rise of service sector industry

The Flora-Bama opens on the 'Redneck Riviera' along the coast of Florida and Alabama. (1970)

Southwest Airlines starts flying out of Dallas, Texas (1971)

Popeye's chicken 'n biscuit restaurants are restablished in Louisiana. (1972)

Home Depot is started in Georgia. (1978)

The first world-wide, 24-hour news channel, Cable News Network (CNN), is established in Atlanta, Georgia. (1980)

Hooters opens its first restaurant in Florida. (1983)

The federal breakup of the AT&T monopoly helps launch Bell South, based in Georgia, and SBC Communications, based in Texas. (1984)

Dell computer company is launched in Texas. (1984)

Southern Pride Catfish Company starts production in Alabama. (1986)

Office Depot opens for business in Florida. (1986)

NAFTA: Migration of the textile industry to Mexico

Corporate Banking





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