This letter is written and submitted by the Henick family in response to The Yazoo Herald article (8/31/19) titled “The final block of Main Street: A Problem or Potential,” in which the “Henick building” was featured at length. Though our family has not owned the property for more than 13 years, given its storied history and our strong family connection to the building, we feel compelled to weigh in on its future.
It is incredibly sad to see another piece of Yazoo City history succumb to the ravages of time. When it is your own family’s history, seeing the collapsed structure is like an open wound that belies its historic beginnings and the vibrant life that once filled its walls.
The original owner of the two-story part of the building was Wash Rose, a former slave, who came to Yazoo City from South Carolina and started a blacksmith shop there in 1878. It survived the 1904 fire and the 1927 flood. Our family connection to the building started after H.C. Henick Sr., the son of buggy parts and tire business owner H.C. Henick, moved the family business to south Main Street in 1921. Progressing with the times, he converted the tire business into Henick Auto Supply in 1947.
The next generation of owners, still remembered by many, were brothers, Chris Henick Jr. and Wilson Henick. Besides God and family, their heart and soul went into Henick Auto Supply. They invested significantly in a renovation and expansion of the store in the 1970s. It was a place where customers were treated like family, the windows at Christmas time rivaled Macy’s, and so many important life lessons were imparted to the next generation of Henick children behind the parts counter. Wilson Henick died in 1990, and in 1996 Chris Henick Jr. retired and closed the family business that had served the community for 75 years from south Main Street. After ten years of maintaining an empty building and trying to sell it, Chris Jr. thought that he had found a buyer who would restore the building. In 2006, a Mississippi businessman, with financial backing from his uncle in California, purchased the property with a commitment to renovate the building and bring a new business to south Main Street. Sadly, this new business did not happen, and we have now reached this unfortunate chapter in the building’s history and for our family.
We have been heartened to see the many posts on social media about the happy memories that so many residents have of our family business, and we applaud those who have managed to revitalize parts of Yazoo’s Main Street. While the building’s fate is out of our family’s hands, we would like to ask the city and the current building owner to tear the building down – for the safety of the community and for the good of Main Street.
Chris Henick III
Melanie Henick Henry
Camille Henick Evans
Ida Henick Yerger