The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 87
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The History and Modus Operandi of a Small Merchant
McKinney related to me that following his Baptist College schooling (ca.
1929) he worked full time at the Toggery and was paid $1oo monthly.
He also remembered watching my mother and Mrs. Dixon place dress
orders with traveling salesmen. It was McKinney's impression that Mrs.
Dixon, a petite lady, would tend to place orders for her size, while my
mother, who was rather buxom, would order larger and more matronly
styles. Thus as buyers they complemented each other. Then, when new
shipments arrived, both women called regular customers to apprise
them of "new dresses in your size and style." And the result, according to
McKinney, was a flourishing dress business.28
In addition to managerial, buying, and sales functions, Lanier per-
formed all other necessary tasks at the Toggery from bookkeeping to
sweeping out. Store hours were from 7 A.M. until 6 P.M. during the week,
and 9 P.M. on Saturdays. Carroll McPherson, then a ministerial student at
Jacksonville's Lon Morris College, also worked part time in the Toggery
shoe department in 1928, along with McKinney. McPherson told me
there really were no hard-and-fast rules about closing hours. 'Your father
would walk out on the sidewalk about closing time and survey the traffic.
Then, from this evaluation he would choose to close or stay open."29
Times were good at the Toggery. These were pre-depression years,
with the local economy boosted by a strong tomato industry. Lanier had
bought this and his first Jacksonville business for cash. The Toggery, at
22o South Main, had a good location, about four doors south of the
First National Bank building, then the center of the business district at
Main and Commerce. That the Toggery sold goods on credit as well as
for cash we know from an incident McKinney related to me: "A cus-
tomer, a doctor's wife, had run up a bill for eighty dollars that your dad
couldn't collect. He offered to sell me the account for forty dollars. I
bought it and made a profit." 0
But true to his operational style, Julian Lanier soon opened a new
store, his last in Jacksonville, after owning the Toggery Shoppe for a little
over two years. The exact date on which he sold the Toggery is not
known, although by 1930 Wade L. Smith was the new owner. We do
know, however, the date Lanier opened his new store: '"J. A. Lanier,
Men's and Boy's Furnishings," 202 East Commerce, from his March 1,
1929, ad stating he was "Now Open for Business." We also know the
name of the firm he bought out: Templeton-Brashear Company, Ready-
2" Charles Wilbur McKinney to J. Armand Lanier, Nov. 23, 1999, interview, notes in author's
2" Carroll McPherson to J. Armand Lanier, Jan. 9, 1999, interview, notes in author's posses-
"0 McKinney to Lamer, Aug. 25, 1999, interview, notes in author's possession.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/115/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.