MOBILE – Brothers Melvin and Leonard Metzger opened a business called Metzger Brothers in 1919 inside The Battle House, a still-operating hotel in downtown Mobile.
The finer men’s and ladies’ apparel store and furrier, now simply called Metzger’s, has thrived since that time by “moving to where people want to shop,” said current owner, Ken Metzger, grandson of founder Melvin Metzger.
In the late 1960s, Metzger’s moved to Mobile’s Bel Air Mall, because “that’s where people wanted to shop,” the current owner said. Second-generation owners, first cousins Albert and Leonard Metzger, sons of the founders, oversaw that transition.
“Now, Metzger’s is in a freestanding location, and that’s where people like to shop,” Ken Metzger further explains, speaking of its custom-built, stand-alone store at 3702 Dauphin St. In 1997, the business relocated to that address in the Spring Hill area of Mobile.
“Time is as important as money,” said the store owner. “Customers want to pull up to our front door, come in, do their shopping and go on about their life.”
Other reasons Metzger’s has succeeded in business for 100 years are its quality products and exceptional customer service provided by a knowledgeable and experienced staff. “When you buy clothes from us, you know they will last,” Metzger said.
The Alabama Retail Association today honored Metzger’s as an Alabama Centennial Retailer at the Alabama Retail Day awards ceremony in Birmingham. The business received a bronze plaque to place outside its store and a certificate suitable for display inside.
“Retailers are at the heart of any local economy, and that’s certainly true here in Mobile,” said Bob Chappelle, chief operating officer of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, of which Metzger’s has been a member throughout its 100-year existence. “Even as we see shifts in sales channels, I believe that customers in the long run are going to choose a local retailer for the personal experience, for quality merchandise and the relationship that they build with sales people.”
Ken Metzger, who formally joined the family business in 1980 after working for the national retailer now known as Macy’s, said, “Metzger’s, as a family and family business, owes much to the loyalty of generations of customers. We continue to be grateful for their patronage.”
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “For a business to survive the dramatic changes of the past century is a remarkable achievement. It is fitting to celebrate the enduring first-century contributions Metzger’s has made to Mobile and the surrounding communities.”
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.