Closed after 106 years

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 26, 2004

There was an unmistakable sadness in Joe H. Bearden’s voice as he talked about the history of the Meyer Shoe Company.

Bearden devoted 53 years to

his business.

Now, a Selma landmark that’s been in business 106 years is closing its doors.

Bearden’s children, who helped operate the Broad Street store, are moving on to try their luck with other ventures.

Customers have moved on, too. They prefer the cheaper prices of a chain store rather than the locally owned, family-operated one.

Bearden said he tried to find a buyer for the store;

when he couldn’t a tough decision had to be made.

Bearden’s son, William Joseph, the company vice president/general manager, is making a career change to the nursery business. He and a partner are growing and selling shrubbery to markets in surrounding counties.

Daughter Judy, the bookkeeper at Meyer, has moved on as well. She is the owner of her own business.

At 75 years of age and suffering from health problems, Bearden gave his all to the company and is now ready to rest.

The Selma shoe company was established in 1896 by the Albert Meyer family. It was purchased in 1936 by William Ward, who later incorporated the company and held controlling interest.

In the 1960s, Bearden bought into the business and was named vice president. After Ward and his wife died, Bearden and his son were given the controlling interest.

Bearden said this was an emotional closing, and it will be hard to see the store go.

In a effort to go out in style, the Meyer Shoe Company is hosting a major sale beginning on Jan. 28 at 8:30 a.m.

To sum up years of business in Selma, Bearden simply said, &uot;It’s been wonderful.&uot;