Tankersley’s marks 50 years in Clovis

CNJ staff photo: Benna Sayyed Homer Tankersley, president of Tankersley’s men’s clothing store in Clovis, arranges a Jack Victor men’s suit display. The store celebrated its 50th anniversary Saturday.

Benna Sayyed

Homer J. Tankersley opened Tankersley’s clothing store more than five decades ago with a letter of credit from a friend and fewer than 100 suits and 75 sport coats.

“One day my wife (Doris) came downtown to buy me a shirt and that didn’t go too well. After talking with her and looking around, I said, ‘Boy, I think Clovis needs a good men’s shop,’” said Tankersley, president of Tankersley’s.

Tankersley left his 16-year career as a lead singer for the Imperials and the Commodores and as a disc jockey for local radio stations to open a men’s shop in downtown Clovis.

More than 50 years later the business still thrives. Tankersley’s celebrated its 50th anniversary on Saturday.

Business at his shop has been wonderful throughout the years, Tankersley said, especially in the latter part of the 1980s and most of the 1990s.

“We’re not doing as well this year as we did a couple of years ago, but business is still good,” Tankersley said.

“There’s been a lot of faithful customers here in Clovis. They’ve been shopping at this store for years and years and years. We’ve made new customers as we go along and they’ve really supported this store.”

A chocolate shop and a ladies apparel were added to the store in 1981. Shoes were added in 1984.

Doris Tankersley worked as the store’s bookkeeper. Tankersley’s sons, Paul and Phil, have worked in the store since their elementary school years. Paul still works in the store; Phil moved to Dallas in 1991 to work in clothing wholesale.

Tankersley’s men’s apparel includes suits, sport coats, slacks, casual and dress wear, men’s shoes and belts.

Homer Tankersley said exemplary customer service, style and quality have made it a success.

“My family has given me a lot of help over the years. My wife would come down here and work all day. She was the bookkeeper. She kept the books and she wanted to know where every penny was at the end of the day,” said Tankersley, breaking into laughter.

A Tankersley’s employee named Eleanor Patton has worked at Tankersley’s for 25 years. Another employee, Beth Hays, joined the team 19 years ago after her previous employer closed. She manages the tuxedo department.

Hays said she enjoys working at Tankersley’s because of the family atmosphere.

“To be here at this time is exciting. It’s a big deal to be here 50 years,” said Hays, who has been employed in men’s retail since she started working.

Tankersley said he is asked every two to three weeks about retirement plans.

“I’m going to work as long as God will let me work. When I feel like it’s time to stop and get out of the way that’s when I’ll quit. But this store will be here long after I’m gone,” Tankersley said.