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The Benson Sister's Deep Roots

The Benson sisters—JoAnna Benson Spencer and Jennifer Benson McClure—have deep roots in Roswell and are committed to investing in their community.

The sisters' love and commitment to Roswell runs as deep as their roots. For the Benson family, those roots trace back to ancestor Enoch Benson, a Revolutionary War soldier who fought under General George Washington at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. Enoch eventually settled in Sugar Hill around 1818, where he lived until he was 83 years old. In the 50s, JoAnna and Jennifer’s grandfather Harold Benson Sr. purchased the Wright car dealership in Roswell, which he named Benson Chevrolet. 

“Our dad, Jack Benson, helped run the dealership when he was a young adult. He met our mom at a tiny restaurant across the street from the dealership called The Green Hornet,” explains JoAnna. “The building is still there.”

Harold Benson served as president of the Roswell Rotary in 1962 and was president of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. He was very active in the local community. “My grandfather used to provide cars to the pastors of the churches in Roswell,” JoAnna says. “One time, an RHS baseball player came into the dealership and asked for a donation to the team to go to a tournament in Florida. Instead of a financial contribution, he paid for the entire trip and gave them a van to drive down to the tournament in.”

Raised in a family of real estate investors with deeds that date back to the 1800s, the Benson sisters—who are both married to Roswell natives and still reside and raise families in the city—continue to keep that tradition alive and well. After the passing of their father Jack in 2015, the sisters vowed to continue with the family business. In honor of their dad, they continued to hold the annual Benson Breakfast each Christmas, which has fed more than 100 Roswell residents and raised money for charities in North Fulton for 15 years.

“Our properties that are most near and dear to our hearts are those on Oak Street in Roswell, which were purchased back in 1986,” JoAnna explains. In recent years, they’ve continued to expand and acquire additional properties on Oak Street. “It’s a hot spot off Canton Street, and in our opinion, it's one of the best ‘before and after’ stories in Roswell,” she says. “It might be pushing it a little to say Oak Street is the new Canton Street, but safe to say that it is Canton Street's little sister who's growing up fast and is going to make us proud.”

The sisters eventually saw a chance to shift their tenant base and bring more life to Oak Street than just automotive. According to Jennifer, former chair of The Historic Preservation Commission in Roswell, members of the community have referred to her and her sister as Roswell’s “big sisters.” 

They took a leap of faith and so did their new tenants like Linen and Flax and Red Baron Antiques. Other tenants range from a distillery, Blended Family Spirits, the Sunshine on a Ranney Day non-profit, Oak Street Bottle Shop and All South Printing.

 Now JoAnna Spencer and Jennifer have a waiting list of people who would like to rent spaces on Oak Street. They do not put up "for lease" signs. They prefer to find tenants through word of mouth and referrals. 

“Jennifer and I love Roswell. It’s our home. The type of businesses we bring to the community matter to us and we do not take that responsibility lightly. We have been blessed with the family business and we operate it daily in a manner that is in honor of our ancestors, and in service to our descendants and community.”  


The type of businesses we bring to the community matter to us and we do not take that responsibility lightly.