"Mize demise: After more than 80 years, icon is closing"
By KYLE PEVETO
The Daily Sentinel
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Mize Department Store, a company associated with Nacogdoches since 1925, announced this week it will soon close.
Across the windows of the store's Hospital Street location, large red-and-yellow signs announced that the store would have a quitting business sale. Behind these bright yellow signs, in a display, a small wooden sign from a different time peeked out, and it read: Get Wise Trade at Mize Brothers.
"It's something we worked hard for, and it's sad to see it go," said Jack Mathews, former co-owner of the store.
Mathews was a partner for 40 years and retired a little more than five years ago. He learned a few days ago that the store would close, and said he was heartbroken.
"We wanted to keep it independent and keep it going for the town and for our customers," he said. "It's good for the town, and Nacogdoches and East Texas have been good for the store, too."
The store, which sells high-end clothing and shoes, is located at the corner of North and Hospital streets. Once, every small town had a store like Mize, and larger cities had several. But along with the growth of nationwide department stores anchored to strip centers and shopping malls, many began to disappear.
"The home-owned department store concept is very rare today," Maisel said. "Privately owned and locally owned institutions cannot operate the same way they always had."
Though Nacogdoches' large student population often favored national chains and shopped elsewhere, Maisel said, tourists and local residents have continued to patronize downtown businesses while larger competition has moved in.
Longtime residents of Nacogdoches have expressed disappointment in seeing Mize prepare to close.
"It's a part of old Nacogdoches — downtown Nacogdoches. It's been there so long," said Charles Bright, 79, owner of Bright Coop.
"They made you feel like you're important, and they appreciated you coming in," he said. "They were more prone to give you service, and you didn't mind asking them for favors."
The Mize Brothers store originally opened in 1925 downtown on Main Street just west of the old opera house. B.H. Mize and his brother, W.A. Mize, started the business there, selling whatever customers suggested. When patrons didn't come to them, they went into the community to peddle their merchandise.
Eventually the Mize brothers split the business, and W.A. Mize operated the Mize Dress Factory on North Street. B.H. Mize kept the retail store and made a longtime employee, L.D. Pate, a partner in the business. His daughter, Anita Standridge, still owns a part of the Mize store, and Mike Bay is another owner.
In 1961, the store moved to its present location, and it was remodeled in 1992.