One of the oldest stores in Tyler to close - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

One of the oldest stores in Tyler to close

Levines has been open for nearly 40 years. (Source: KLTV staff) Levines has been open for nearly 40 years. (Source: KLTV staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

When people ask, "Where is the department store in downtown Tyler?"The answer was always: across from the courthouse on Spring Street.

Unfortunately, soon the answer will be, "There isn’t one." Levines will soon be closing its doors for good.

It’s been around for nearly forty years, and in that time Levines has supplied families with affordable church clothes and school uniforms without fail.

Ralph Mason runs the place. He has since he started it in the 1970s. Oddly enough, he came to Tyler to shut down the store, then K. Wolens.

But residents of the north side, including several preachers, wanted a department store downtown.

“One thing K. Wolens had, they kept excellent books, so I could go back and look at where the losses were with the volume the store had, and what was the potential by changing the merchandise mix to justify keeping the store open,” Mason said.

K. Wolens became Levines, a store for generations. Christine Johnson grew up shopping there.

“My mom used to bring me here when I was a little girl so I know it’s been over 20-30 years,” Johnson said.

Christine didn’t like hearing the news.

“I was disappointed because it’s the only place that you can really find a church atmosphere in Tyler as far as clothes,” Johnson relayed.

Sunny Farley feels the same.

“Well it’s a bummer because this place has been here forever, so it’s sad that it’s going to be leaving, but we’re going to come in and do all our last minute shopping and get all the things we need before it does,” Farley said.

Greg Cofer is a 25-year shopper.

“I got on the phone and started calling. I was like, 'Let’s go see what’s going on over there and let’s see what’s on sale and see if we can get something.' So me and my wife came, she’s upstairs shopping; her and my grand baby,” Cofer said.

There were a few first-time shoppers, and some that hadn’t been there in years. Mason appreciates them all equally.

“It’s been fun, it’s been fun. I wish I could go back and do it all over again, it’s been that enjoyable,” Mason concluded.

He came to Tyler to shut this store down. It looks like he can’t stall corporate much longer.

Levines will be open for another month or so. The sales have begun, and the owners want to sell everything. There are still a couple Levines stores open in the Dallas area that are owned by a different company.

 Copyright KLTV 2014. All rights reserved.

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