Bobbie Ledford sent us a letter informing us about the sad closing of a small town icon, Friday's Clothing in Gastonia, North Carolina. She had toured our facility in the past and thought of us when she read about the shop owner Aileen Friday - who we know and love - finally closing down due to lack of business.

It's very difficult today to keep a shop running with a belief in carrying only American made products when you can. We're proud of her and thankful to Bobbie for letting us know.  I hope the people around Gastonia can still find a way to shop for Pointer Brand offline.

Here's the full text of the article in the Friday, September 12th, 2012 issue of The Gaston Gazette.

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Aileen Friday and some Pointer Brand coveralls.Pearl-buttoned work shirts.

Thick, brown cotton hose.

Pre-knotted ties.

What’s left of the pajamas and “dusters.”

It all goes on the auction block this morning.

Ailene Friday is calling it quits with Friday’s Clothing, a time machine of a store sitting on South Main Street in Stanley since 1945.

Friday bought the business from Paul Shook in 1976, taking over the town’s cotton slip and bib overall trade after working the narrow aisles for more than a decade.

It was, says longtime customer Bill Melton, “one of the last places you can buy underwear in a box.”

Melton, a devotee of the Pointer Brand, shopped the racks and bins of the 93-year-old building for his favorite red-zippered, sturdily gallused overalls.

A rarity in the Walmart-dominated world of retail, the overalls brought him to the Stanley store.

The old-world ambience, colored by the saucy owner, kept him darkening the hardwood doorstep.

She would have his Pointers delivered next door if she was going to be out of town (the 85-year-old proprietor moonlights as a leader for travel groups nationwide).

She would also tell the police captain and occasional Gazette columnist that he looked silly in a suit and needed to get back to overalls for his next newspaper picture.

Sold with pride

Friday strode through the store this week, favoring one leg but outpacing the reporter trying to keep up.

Founder Paul Shook, who opened Shook’s Clothing in the old post office building 67 years ago, wouldn’t carry anything that wasn’t American made. Friday held with his tradition as long as she could.

She gave up selling shoes and formal dresses when her U.S. suppliers disappeared. On her watch, scores of shirt, pants, socks and hosiery manufacturers followed suit.

Friday points to the plaid Cove Creek button-ups.

“Made with pride in the USA,” she said. “But they went out of business.”

She tugs on labels for a lone SportsMaster jacket and the polyester-blend Nancy Frock dresses nearby.

“Out of business.”

She displays an American flag printed on the last pair of work boots in the store.

“They’re gone, too,” Friday sighs.

The lamentation is short-lived for the feisty businesswoman who would sell all her stock before the weekend started.

An auctioneer she hired had already boxed up much of the merchandise, but Friday and her son Wayne put some of the clothing back on the rack for their last day.

Selling is a hard habit to break.

“I’ve already moved a pair of overalls and a pair of Wrangler jeans this morning,” Friday boasts to Wayne. He is carrying in a few garage sale items to add to the auction piles.

Demand for supply

Friday says the doors stayed open for years thanks to those overalls and the lingerie — think cotton and country store, not the flimsy Victoria’s Secret variety.

In recent years even the staples have gotten harder for the small merchant to put on the shelves. Friday stopped stocking new Wranglers when the minimum order the company would supply grew into the thousands of dollars.

Exquisite Form bras began requiring at least a $1,200 order to ship to Friday’s.

Prices on the small requisitions are also rising for the retailer. Her cost on some of the Pointers can hit upwards of $60 to $80.

Pile all of that on top of declining customers and Friday’s decision to close the doors seems inevitable, she said.

Not that finances are forcing the longtime owner to shutter the business.

“I’ll leave here not owing a dime to anybody,” she says.

Although she’ll joke that her sons, Wayne and Keith, might owe her a few dollars for the T-shirts and ties she supplied over the years.

‘A different time’

“She’ll be missed,” says Melton, a fan of any store where the proprietor uses a pencil to write your order in a binder.

Customers, he says, will miss the overalls.

They’ll miss Friday’s willingness to deliver to homebound residents of Stanley.

They’ll miss a dressing room where, Melton says, “you shut that door and you’re in a different time.”

 “The world moves by so fast,” he said. “She was always right there on that same corner.”

Article by Ragan Robinson.  Source