Historic NWLA store closing after 122 years in business

Logansport "... will never be the same; N.J. Caraway’s has always been there”

Northwest Louisiana's iconic N.J. Caraway & Co. closing after 122 years in business

LOGANSPORT, La. (KSLA) — N.J. Caraway & Co. has been a staple in the town of Logansport since 1897.

It’s the oldest hardware and department store in DeSoto Parish.

Now, after 122 years in business, the historic gem at the corner of Second and Main is closing its doors for good.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” said Janet Palmer, who owns the aging store.

Logansport "... will never be the same; N.J. Caraway’s has always been there.”

She and her late husband ran the store for nearly 40 years. B.C. Palmer died nine years ago.

“This is our child,” she said. “I wish he was here to help me in these final days.”

Caraway’s eclectic collection of basically everything is what makes this store more of an adventure. It sells hardware, antiques, clothing, candles and so much more.

“They say if you came in this store and couldn’t find something that you needed, then you didn’t need it at all,” Janet explained. “They just sold the first of everything, from the pioneer days on.”

Family members of the original owners of N.J. Caraway & Co. stand behind the historic DeSoto Parish store's counter.
Family members of the original owners of N.J. Caraway & Co. stand behind the historic DeSoto Parish store's counter. (Source: Christian Piekos)

Nestled on the banks of the Sabine River, N.J. Caraway & Co. was popular for travelers making their way up the river on different boats throughout history.

“We’ve had customers and still do that have shopped here their whole life,” Janet said.

The decision to close the timeless store was a deeply challenging and personal one, she said.

“It’s time for me to retire,” said Janet, whose having health issues.

It’s difficult to put into words what this store represents for Logansport.

It’s a shop that’s survived two fires and even received a visit from the notorious duo Bonnie and Clyde.

The late Teague Price, who as president operated the store from 1969 until it was sold to the Palmers in 1980, once recalled how the pair came into the store to buy some .38-caliber ammunition and how it scared him to death to tell them that the store did not carry bullets.

Janet is keeping this living history breathing.

“Times have changed,” she uttered in a somber tone.

N.J. Caraway & Co.'s final day open will be Dec. 28, a day Janet said will be filled with a jubilant celebration and new memories to add to the long list of history already inside her shop.

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