Fremont Clothing Store Closes After Nearly 100 Years In The City Center | Nebraska
After spending nearly a century in downtown Fremont, Sampter’s will soon be closing for the last time.
“It was a very difficult decision to make because I realize that it is a loss for our community to lose this business like any store,” said owner Bob Missel. “And so it was very difficult, but I felt it was my time and the time had come.”
The clothing store at 517 N. Main St. has a series of closing sales.
Sampter’s roots go back to 1883, when Missal’s great-grandfather, Nathan Sampter, opened Nathan Sampter’s One Price Clothing on Sixth Street.
“He later moved to a new location on Main Street, a little north of that existing store,” Missel said. “And then, along with other business partners, he built the building we’re in today and he officially opened this store in 1900.”
After Sampter’s death in 1910, the family had to sell the business. But 15 years later, his son Gerald bought the building.
“So we’re saying we’ve been in business since 1925 for 96 years, however, our history in the community goes much, much deeper,” Missal said.
For the next 58 years, Sampter ran the men’s clothing store. In 1983, two of his longtime employees contacted the family to see if anyone would be interested in helping Sampter, who was 80 years old.
“Well, the timing was right because I had just lost my current job,” Missal said. “So I convinced my wife, Michelle, ‘Let’s go to Fremont, Nebraska, for a year and see what it looks like.’ “
The Missals’ plan to move from Dearborn, Michigan to live in Fremont for a short time ultimately decided the couple to stay. Missel worked with her grandfather until his death in December 1985.
Sampter primarily sold men’s clothing, including suits, dress shirts, dress pants, and ties for professional use until the 1990s.
“And then you started to see, I called it the ‘Microsoft effect’, but we started dressing up and we noticed right away that we suddenly started selling less dressy clothes,” said Missal. “So we really started to focus on expanding our men’s sportswear and making it a bigger job. “
During this decade, Sampter also expanded into women’s clothing, which now accounts for a third of the store’s volume, as well as footwear. Sampter’s also expanded in 1995; Missel said many stores around the turn of the century were long and narrow.
“They had to keep everything in a cupboard or drawer or behind glass, so you walked into a store and a clerk got what you needed,” Missal said. “And so by taking over the other half of this building, we were able to better display and show off our sportswear and ultimately add the ladies.”
In addition to expanding the store, Missel also got involved in the Fremont community. Previously, he was President of the Downtown Business Association and President of the Business Improvement District, and he has been President of the Dodge County Board of Supervisors since 2005.
Sampter’s himself has also been recognized; it was named 2008 Nebraska Retailer of the Year, which Missel attributed to the store’s ability to adapt to clothing trends.
But in recent years, Missel said, he’s seen a “huge” shift towards shopping online, in the warehouse and direct to the consumer.
“I never thought my suppliers would compete with me, but they did, so the dynamic changed,” he said. “Retailing has become increasingly difficult for a single independent trader. “
After a few years of reflection, Missel and her family decided over the summer to close Sampter’s.
“The point is just to sell everything,” he said. “We don’t have an end date, but surely over the next few weeks we plan to move most of the inventory.”
With his retirement, Missal said, he will have more time to devote to county council as well as his hobby as a coin collector. As president of the Nebraska Numismatic Association, he said, he can now go to national shows and help his friends value currencies.
Missel said he was grateful to his employees, including tailor Lynn Frese and account manager Holly Goldsberry, as well as his wife and two daughters, Megan and Jennifer, who both worked in the store.
As he moves on to the next chapter in his life, Missal said, he is grateful to those he has been able to help in the Fremont community, whether they are someone preparing for a job interview. hiring or a family preparing to attend a funeral.
“Being able to help them through this process and hopefully make it easier is special for me,” he said. “And so I’m going to miss it.”
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