Another key to Metzger’s longevity: Loyal employees
selling quality men’s and women’s apparel and furs
Brothers Melvin and Leonard Metzger opened what was then known as 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,” says Ken. Second-generation owners, first cousins Albert and Leonard Metzger, oversaw that transition. Albert Metzger was Ken’s father. Leonard Metzger was the son of the founder with the same name.
“Now, Metzger’s is in a freestanding location, and that’s where people like to shop,” Ken further explained, 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 Ken. “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. “When you buy clothes from us, you know they will last,” Ken said.
All About the People
While adapting to customers’ shopping preferences and selling quality merchandise that doesn’t easily wear out has helped Metzger’s survive through the years, Ken said another factor trumps even those core values.
“It’s all about people,” he said. While customers are the store’s focus, the people Ken refers to are Metzger’s employees. “I have several employees who have been with me over 20 years, and I think that says a lot about who we are.”
Secretary/bookkeeper Diane Presley has worked at Metzger’s for 48 years. She has worked for all three generations of the Metzger family. Wardrobe stylist Brenda Holt began working at Metzger’s 40 years ago. “Some of our customers won’t shop without Brenda’s help,” said manager Alan Day, who started as a sales associate 24 years ago. He’s been the manager and men’s buyer for 22 of those years.
The rapport customers build with the people assisting them keeps them coming back.
“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, 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.”
A giant banner adorning the store to celebrate Metzger’s 100th birthday expresses that gratitude with the words, “Thank you Mobile.”
“Mobile is the Metzger home, and this community helped build this store,” said Ken. “That realization is one we appreciate, and we are proud to give back in whatever way possible.”
MEMBER SINCE 1985
Metzger’s at 3702 Dauphin St. in Mobile is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Visit metzgersclothing.com
Story and photos by Nancy King Dennis
Find this article on Pages 4 and 5
of the November 2019 Alabama Retailer
MORE ON METZGER’S