ALBERTVILLE, Ala. -- A family owned business that served Marshall County for three generations is saying goodbye, but the owner of Whitten’s Town & Country Clothes says it's a celebration of decades.
"In 1948 my grandfather LM Whitten worked in Gadsden, Alabama at a shoe store, and they were bought out and the owner of the shoe store said 'Mr. Whitten, what do you want to do?' and he said 'I want to move back to Sand Mountain and open a clothing store'," president and owner Thomas T. Whitten, II explained.
"So it was just a small store on Main Street but it was an elegant store that just had something for everybody," he added.
After 20 years the store moved. "They opened up in this very store and my dad brought back a whole new style. He wanted to wardrobe men and women in the highest fashions."
Whitten is the third generation to serve Albertville. His customers hail from all over northeast Alabama, Birmingham, and out-of-state.
Things will soon change for the downtown Albertville store, though. "I've been studying for the last year what's happening in society," Whitten said. As the store approaches its 70th years, the changing times and culture led him to a decision to close.
"On our fiftieth anniversary that was huge, and then at 65 it was strong, and then I said, you know, I want to go out in style. I want my grandfather and my dad to know we left a legacy in the fashion world," Whitten said.
Wednesday, Whitten helped a longtime customer at the front desk. They talked like old friends and parted with a promise to send other guests to the store before it closed.
Whitten anticipates thing should be wrapped up in March. On Friday, December 30, the store will have a final after Christmas sale, with the entire store half off.
"When this is all over it's going to be a celebration, and we will start our next journey in life," Whitten said, "You know, it's a very happy day for the Whitten family."