In 1878, Mr. E.W. King came to Bristol with capital of $1,000 and bought a small retail business. In 1882, Mr. King built a two-story brick building at 606 State Street which served the business until 1884. A few years after moving into the building at 606 State Street, a wholesale department was added. The business continued to prosper and increase in volume and in 1893 a larger building was erected at 612 State Street. It was then that E.W. King became the first exclusive wholesale merchant in Bristol.
In 1920, Mr. King had the E. W. King Building constructed. At that time, it was one of the largest and most modern buildings of its kind in the South, designed particularly for their business. The 75,000 square foot building was built to expedite the handling of every order received, no matter how large or small it was. There were display and sample rooms to enable the trade to have a much greater opportunity of seeing the enormous volume of merchandise displayed and arranged for inspection. Their motto was “Our buying facilities are such to enable us to reach the markets of the world, thereby giving our trade the very latest of fast selling merchandise, at a price that is guaranteed to please them.”
Today, the centrally located downtown building is positioned to serve the community in Bristol's exciting renaissance.