815 & 813 Houston - Malouf's J-M Western Wear
On October 15, 1971, it began with a dream and a car ride with his brother as they traveled from Hereford to Levelland. This young man was looking for just the right place to start a business. On his tour, he noticed there was only “one” empty building in downtown Levelland and to him, “that” meant an opportunity in a growing and prospering community.
His first location owned by Mrs. Fowler, was at 717 Houston Street. Malouf's would only reside there for a year and a half. Back in 1971....can you guess what the rent of his first building was? $60/mth Of course you can't rent an empty building and not need to fix some things up and build shelves, tables, etc. So, Tony went down to Wright's Lumber Co. and Otto Wright gave him the wood he needed on a promise to pay in 30 days and even delivered it right to his door. He had a building and shelves but nothing to put on them and so he contacted suppliers and they too delivered with nothing more than a promise to pay. Wow...how times have changed! Well, pay he did....from October 15th to December 30th, he will proudly tell you, he took that inventory and turned it over 3x.
Tony would then move his business and purchase his current building with a handshake loan from a local banker and Malouf's J-M Western Wear still resides there today at 817 Houston. Tony served as Mayor of the City of Levelland from '81-'85, graduated 4 kids from Levelland ISD, who went on to college and are all business professionals and every Friday he takes his grandkids to lunch. This year Malouf’s celebrated their 50th anniversary.
Some fun facts, in an advertisement in the Hockley County Free Press, Sunday July 2, 1978 edition, you could bring in an old pair (clean mind you) of jeans and get a pair of Levi’s, Big Bell and Bell Bottom jeans for $10.00. Dress slacks were on sale for $6.98 and men’s shirts were $8.98.
His secret? "We know folks will go to Lubbock and shop online, but we just want a little bit of that money spent. It's the personal touch that keeps customers shopping local and coming back. That and hard work...you have to be willing to work. America is the greatest country in the world and the opportunities are there...you just have to reach out your hand and grab them." - - Tony Malouf