Wilmington businesses seen through old commercials via YouTube
If you’re in a nostalgic mood, YouTube is one place to satisfy your craving.
The online video sharing platform boasts billions of users and videos, so chances are a search of things you once remembered or know well today could turn into a treasure trove of content.
YouTube user ntropolis, who has uploaded more than 630 videos that’s resulted in more than four million views, regularly posts content of old commercials and newscasts from TV networks in eastern North Carolina and Virginia’s Hampton Roads region.
As for Wilmington, the user has uncovered Port City-area videos the past few years. A crop uploaded in recent months highlight a number of former and current businesses, news personalities and a former local CBS affiliate.
Here’s some notable local people and places you might remember.
This commercial promotes a pizza restaurant at Independence Mall, with a cook (maybe the owner) coming into the kitchen and getting ingredients ready for another day serving customers.
Carolina Furniture Company
The longtime business on Red Cross Street in downtown Wilmington was celebrating 75 years in 1997.
Carolina Furniture would’ve celebrated 100 years in business in 2022. However, it closed in 2012.
The sign shown at the end of the commercial remains on the side of the building, which now houses Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, a non-profit addressing food insecurities in the area.
Discount House, WWAY newscast
This grouping of commercials from October 1, 1989 include most of a WWAY 11 p.m. newscast. One of the anchors includes John Rendleman in his first year with the station. He left WWAY in 2017.
The newscast spent most of its 30 minutes covering the aftermath from Hurricane Hugo, which hit South Carolina coastal areas such as Myrtle Beach and Charleston.
Atlantic RV has one of its models taking a stroll on Water Street near the Alton Lennon Federal Building while Warehouse Sales (a Jacksonville business) ask people to “top it” — meaning a cap or top for a truck, as it has plenty of inventory.
Then there’s the Discount House with a commercial nearly identical to ones seen today. The carpet and cabinet business is at the same Monkey Junction area address and asking then and now if “service, price and availability are important to you, come see us at the Discount House” and noting its Carolina Beach Road location.
Pat’s Tire Service is another Carolina Beach Road staple, although it’s now known as Pat’s Auto Service Center.
Before WSFX TV there was WJKA
The station was Wilmington’s CBS affiliate from 1984-94 until WJKA changed its call letters to WSFX-TV and began its current connection with Fox.
Its sign-on and sign-off (yes, at one time TV stations didn’t have programming 24 hours a day) clips regularly showed the Cape Fear River, Wrightsville and Carolina beaches, Wilmington International Airport and Battleship North Carolina.
There were also jazzy IDs with Wilmington places, such as this one featuring Bellamy Mansion.
It’s known more now as D&E Mitsubishi, but in 1997 the car dealership was featuring Dodge, Jeep and Eagle (the latter brand discontinued by the early 2000s) in this commercial. It’s still located at 6220 Market Street in Wilmington.
The local jeweler has been a mainstay in TV commercials for years, including this clip from 1997. The business, at this time located at Independence Mall, has had a flair for catching the eye of viewers. In this commercial, owner Alan Perry is making sure guys have a Valentine’s Day gift ready for their significant other.
Bob King Auto Mall, White Tractor Company in Burgaw, Starway Flea Market
Three places still around were featured in 1993 commercials through WJKA.
At Bob King Auto Mall, it was a push on the Suzuki Sidekick, a 4-wheel-drive vehicle just in time for great beach weather.
White Tractor Company in Burgaw showed the dependability of its Grasshopper-brand mowers. The business has been in Pender County since 1969.
And watch until the end to get a glimpse into the Wilmington’s large indoor and outdoor flea market, the Starway Flea Market. It noted more than 5,000 customers shopped at the Carolina Beach Road location weekly.
The land was once home to Starway Theater, an outdoor drive-in, during the 1950s before closing and becoming a flea market in the 1980s.
The market’s future is facing some challenges after the Wilmington Planning Commission’s approval of a rezoning last year, which paves the way for an affordable housing development on the site.