The Collegiate Shoppe began its journey in 1936, with owner George Serur, who also pioneered 11 other locations throughout Texas.
Today, the iconic shop in downtown Paris, Texas, is the last of the 11 locations that remain in the family with shop owner and Serur’s grandson, Bailey Gant.
“This month the Chamber of Commerce spotlight continues to shine brightly on our longtime friend and member, The Collegiate Shoppe,” said Lamar County Chamber of Commerce President Paul Allen. “The Collegiate Shoppe has something to offer for everyone. Whether it’s a special occasion or a simple a night out.”
The family business has been a Chamber member for almost 67 years, and Allen took time to get to know the story behind it all as so many generations have walked through the doors over the years.
“There has been a sense of trust and loyalty with the Collegiate Shoppe that has developed over several years with many customers,” said Allen. “The history is shown in pictures on the wall behind the counter.”
Serur’s daughter, and mother of Bailey Gant, Jean Gant, watched her father open and manage several stores and then the legacy continued as Bailey watched his mother follow in the footsteps of Serur. Bailey took the reigns in 2010 and the family tradition continues in Paris, Texas.
According to Allen, there are loyal customers who come in on a regular basis, some just to buy clothes from Jean who still works a few days a week.
“While times have changed over the years there are is one thing that remains the same, customer satisfaction,” said Allen.
There are currently four employees at The Collegiate Shoppe with one of the four being solely focused on online sales. As you can imagine, things have developed since 1936 and many sales are driven online rather than storefront.
“We must continue to change what’s on our website to keep it fresh and up to date,” said Bailey.
The changes over the years have provided new opportunities to reach their customers through social media and their online presence.
While it’s changed the game of sales, Allen found through his time with Bailey that there is still the hometown feeling and trust that has always been there.
Allen said that over the years, The Collegiate Shoppe has received late-night calls for help from families that had a specific need and those customers were taken care of because it’s a company that cares about its community and customers.
When Allen asked Bailey about their location, he replied: “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
As the future of downtown Paris has been at the forefront of peoples minds, Bailey would also like to see more businesses make their way to the area. “We have some great folks very close by and I would like to see that continue to grow.”
When asked about the value of being a Chamber Member, Bailey said, “Why wouldn’t I be? The Chamber provides The Collegiate Shoppe another avenue for growth in our community and a connection with other businesses.”
“The Lamar County Chamber of Commerce would like to thank The Collegiate Shoppe for its membership of 67 years and its dedication to Lamar County,” said Allen.
The Collegiate Shoppe is located at 11 S Plaza in downtown Paris, Texas.