Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Landmark Store

When McFarland Mall opened in the 70s, it was the beginning of the end of shopping downtown. It was Tuscaloosa's first mall and it was a big deal for many years. This was it's anchor store. It was originally Gayfer's Department Store. We loved Gayfer's. We spent lots of time and money there. This was back when my mother went to town every Saturday to have her hair done. Somehow, we always ended up at Gayfer's before we went home. They basically clothed us starting in the kids' department upstairs and finally ending up in the ladies' department. They sold everything else too. Shoes, housewares, china and silver - it was the ONLY store with a wedding registry, electronics, records - yes, records, games and toys, kitchen wares, rugs, etc. It was truly a department store. It had an escalator - first one we'd ever seen, amazing. My first credit card was a Gayfer's card. The people who worked there had all been there for years and literally watched us grow up.
Then, a few years ago, Gayfer's closed and Dillard's moved in. Saddest shopping tragedy in history. New people, new policies, new brand names, new higher prices, no "moonlight madness" sales, new ick. People avoided Dillard's in droves. Rumour is, Dillard's never made enough profit to cover the lease during the entire time they were there. Thus, the "store closing" sign you see in the picture. Does your town have a favorite department store?

6 comments:

Rambling Round said...

HI there! I just found your blog, and I am so happy to see Tuscaloosa. I grew up near there and remember the big opening of that mall. Being from a small town, most everything we bought came from Gayfers, especially clothes. I don't believe there will ever be another department store like it. We have a Belk in Selma that is nice.

D said...

Hi! I'm glad you found me. I enjoy your blog. Actually, it's one of my inspirations for starting this one. I love Tuscaloosa and wanted to share it.
Welcome and thanks for posting!

Halcyon said...

I grew up in OKC and we had two main department stores: Dillards and Foley's. Dillards was always the more upscale of the two. A few years ago, Foley's shut down and Macy's moved in. Now the tables have turned.

Here in Jackson we have Belk's and Dillards. The Dillards here is not as nice as it was in OKC. It always seems dark and cave-y for some reason. I hardly ever shop at department stores, but now when I do, it is usually Belk's.

D said...

UPDATE---a short but severe storm on Tuesday damaged the roof of Dillard's. It was raining into the store, so the corporate execs decided that it will not reopen. They were scheduled to close July the 5th.

dot said...

I used to shop alot at the Gayfer's at Spanish Fort. (Some call it Daphne) I sure miss that store!

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this blog is still active, but came across it by accident. I worked at this store for many years when it was Gayfers, and had many great experiences with both customers and employees. Sure is missed.