August 30, 2006

Shaw's swan song (UPDATED 9/3/06)

I've got to hand it to the owners (or former owners, as it appears) of Shaw's Department Store--they seem to have a sign for every possible phase involved in a business closing its doors. These latest signs went up this past Saturday (August 26):

Tuesday, 6 am (yesterday morning)

Taken in the last two months:

The old girls gearing up for one, final job.

Last October:

My favorite Shaw's picture:

The hat I "rescued" (what I call the Come Dance With Me! model):

I think that's it!

All of my Shaw's posts (in chronological order):
  • Shaw's
  • Shaw's mystery thickens...
  • The days of our Shaw's
  • Clearance = closing?
  • Sun sets on Shaw's
  • The final, thrilling episode of Shaw's, in which I rescue a hat
  • Shaw's update


    This article and picture ran in the Nacogdoches paper, the Daily Sentinel. I'm quoting the entire article, because the Sentinel doesn't seem to archive their articles.

    Dick and Shirley McLain work the register at Shaw's Department Store which opened back up briefly this month for one last hurrah — as the McLains attempt to liquidate items from a bygone era.

    "Shaw's closing, one last time"

    The Daily Sentinel

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    In case you missed it the first time, Shaw's Department Store on the downtown brick streets is closing — this time for good.

    But this past week, the Shaw family got a little help from an old friend and longtime downtown merchant, Dick McLain.

    McLain and his wife, Shirley, bought the remaining merchandise inside and decided they would open the store up one last time and give it the proper send-off that a 50-year-old independent department store deserved.

    Shaw's Department Store was opened by Noble Shaw, who ran and operated the store from 1952 until his retirement a few years back, when his nephew, Terry Strong, took over the business.

    McLain was a friend of Shaw's, but he knows a little bit about the retail clothing industry, as well, having operated a men's clothing store downtown for a number of years.

    But McLain saw the writing on the wall. The days of the small independent clothiers were numbered.

    "Things change," McLain said. "And when things start to change, it's either time for you to change with it, or get out."

    McLain changed. He retired from clothing and took the logical step into dealing antiques in the oldest town in Texas.

    Shaw's, however, did not change.

    "He felt like it was his job to provide a service," McLain said of Shaw. "He always felt it was important to dress right. He really liked people, and he took special pride in taking care of his customers."

    As a result, he had a loyal customer base that kept his doors open, and, for the most part, the building remained unchanged for five decades.

    McLain shared a letter that Shaw had written in 1983 to a former Mississippi governor who stopped in the store one day and bought a hat. According to McLain, the letter sums up a lot about Noble Shaw's business philosophy.

    "One of the problems of our time is that people are more concerned with turnover and corporate profits than they are rendering a useful service to society," Shaw wrote. "Stetson Hat Company is one of the remaining firms that considers their customers above their own corporate welfare.

    "Our store started to be a neighborhood venture, satisfied with a clientele of the immediate neighborhood.

    "Then when we moved into a larger building, we considered ourselves to be a town store.

    "Some of our departments, like hats and boots have increased, while children's and women's wear have diminished ..."

    Before the end of the month, everything in the store will be sold, from wall to wall.

    The McLains temporarily closed their antique store, next door, so they could do the sale right — talking to customers, trading tales of times past and fond remembrances of a man who always believed in putting the customer first.

    "So many people come in here and tell us that they just can't stand that this place is closing," McLain said. "One lady said this was where she bought her first pair of boots, when she was a young girl, and it just broke her heart to see it going away.

    "I think it speaks to Mr. Shaw's ability, that we are still having people — after 55 years — still talking about him and telling us that this is the only place they got merchandise, and they are so sad that it's closing up," he said. "But we're going to try to close it out in a way that will give dignity to his life."
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