Places . . .


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Add for Clearman's store as it appeared in The Lamar Democrat in February, 1910.



Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared in "The Tuscaloosa News", May 12, 2002.
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[Billy] Reed relaxes along with Sonny Clearman at Clearman's Dry Goods, the town's second-oldest business after the newspaper. They sit before a gas space heater, now dormant in May's warmth, surrounded by tables of clothing, boots and shoes.

"People my age come in here all during the week and sit around and talk," Reed said. "This is the only place I know of where you can go in and sit around the stove and talk."
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The old door to clearman's jangles open and customers creak across the rambling wood floor, just like they have since 1899 when Clearman's father opened it. Now 74 years old, Sonny Clearman has been ringing up sales on the 103-year-old cash register covered in ornate scroll since he was 13 years old. The cash register still works.

"Just not as often as I'd like," Clearman said, chuckling.

Clearman's started out as a "furnishing store," providing farmers with plows, harnesses, seed, nails, Sunday bonnets and anything else they might need.

"Years ago, a Saturday was your whole week's business," Clearman said. "People lived on farms and came into town on Saturday."

Horses and wagons crowded the streets. Women pawed through merchandise while men sat in the shade or slipped around to the bootlegger's back door. Street preachers shouted above the bustle from the corners.

"You'd have 1,000 extra people in town on Saturday," Clearman said.

As times changed, product lines gradually dwindled to boots and clothing. The store started out in about one-third of its current floor space but eventually consumed the whole building. It's the kind of place you can still get a felt fedora, and shoe boxes with logos dating back to the 1950s gather dust on the top shelves. But plenty of modern merchandise is there for the working men Clearman's caters to.

Clearman can recite the store's lore - the failed experiment with a bowling alley upstairs, the killing in the drug store, which once occupied the store's south side.

"For people from out of town, this is a novelty," Clearman said.

He's there every business day just like he has been since 1951.

"I don't have to come down here," he said. "This is no big business anymore, but it gives you something to do. As long as this is fun and I make enough to pay the light bill and the water bill and the gas bill, I'll keep doing it."

Clearman pauses.

"Besides, I'm not going to let Wal-Mart put me out of business," he says with a smile.
This is an article from "The Lamar Democrat & The Sulligent News".
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Clearman's store building being torn down, May 2015.