29. Hi Wo Grocery
In 1896 Hi Wo, a Chinese immigrant, purchased the Roger Brothers General Merchandise Store and changed the name to Hi Wo Company Grocery. The store was an important part of Benson's history from the time it opened in 1896 until it finally closed in 1989. During the depression years, the Wo Family extended credit to ranchers, farmers, and others when few businesses were willing to do so.
The years of 1931 through 1933 were tragic ones for the Wo family. The store was robbed a number of times in 1931. Hi Wo died in December 1931 at the age of 74. Mrs. Wo died in April, 1932. In 1933, the Wo's son José died at age 42 from an accidental gunshot wound. One of Mr. Wo's two daughters continued the family business until it closed in 1989.
This mural was placed on the side of the Hi Wo Grocery to honor the family and the store for being such a part of the growth of Benson. Many of the older families in Benson still speak highly of the Hi Wo family and the store.
An interesting side note on the Hi Wo Store is that Benson's first refrigerator was purchased by the Hi Wo Grocery and Mercantile store. It can now be seen at the Benson History Museum.
Shown Mr. Hi Wo and his family
Artist: Doug Quarles
Size: 12' x 24'
Completed: June 2016
Benson Beautification, Inc.