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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charleston in Kanawha County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

Alex Schoenbaum

 
 
Alex Schoenbaum Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 31, 2021
1. Alex Schoenbaum Marker
Inscription.  
Alex Schoenbaum became one of the nation's foremost restaurateurs by building a chain of Shoney's Big Boy restaurants that started on this site in 1947 and grew to 1900 restaurants within four decades. The original restaurant was the Parkette Drive-In. It opened to throngs of residents flocking to be served double-deck Big Boy hamburgers by smiling carhops in the windows of their big American "Shoney-shine" cars. A visionary, Schoenbaum recognized the interest in new "fast" food and the growth potential. In 1951, Schoenbaum enlisted Bob Wian, of Bob's Big Boy of California and David Frisch of Frisch's Big Boy of Ohio to incorporate the Big Boy name with concept and then divided the country into franchised territories. The name Shoney's was soon chosen by a write-in contest; the winner being awarded a new Cadillac.

Due to his determination, pioneering spirit and his credo to "Give the most of the best for the least," Shoney's sit down "coffee shops" proliferated throughout the southeastern United States. By 1995, the chain grossed more than 1 billion dollars annually.

Success was hard won for Schoenbaum. The family
Shoney's Big Boy display image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 31, 2021
2. Shoney's Big Boy display
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moved from poverty in Virginia to Huntington in the 1920s. Hard work, charm and a forceful personality won him a football scholarship to Ohio State University where he earned the esteemed All American Football award. While building his restaurant empire in Charleston he inspired others to grow both within the company and in civic and charitable endeavors in the city and country. His drive to be a business success was only equalled by his desire and generosity to help those less fortunate than him. His charitable legacy can be seen throughout the state and the nation. Shoney's and Big Boy are now considered American icons, reflections of post World War II's optimism and prosperity. This monument evokes the architecture of the second Parkette restaurant, demolished in 1974.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1947.
 
Location. 38° 21.991′ N, 81° 39.979′ W. Marker is in Charleston, West Virginia, in Kanawha County. Marker is on Kanawha Boulevard West, 0.1 miles west of Stockton Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1600 Kanawha Blvd W, Charleston WV 25387, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Baptism By Fire (approx. ¼ mile away); William H. Davis (approx. 0.3 miles away); War At The Front Door (approx. half
Shoney's Big Boy display image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 31, 2021
3. Shoney's Big Boy display
a mile away); Little Page Terrace Public Housing (approx. half a mile away); George W. Summers (approx. 0.6 miles away); Battle of Charleston (approx. 1.1 miles away); Fort Scammon (approx. 1.2 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Scammon (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
 
Shoney's Big Boy display image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 31, 2021
4. Shoney's Big Boy display
Alex Schoenbaum Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, July 31, 2021
5. Alex Schoenbaum Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 4, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 97 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 4, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Dec. 1, 2021