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Former type Department store
Industry Retail
Fate Acquired by Dillard's, Inc
Founded 1879
Defunct 1998
Headquarters Mobile, Alabama
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares.
Parent Formerly Mercantile Stores Company, Inc.(1950-1998)
Website None

Gayfers was a regional department store chain in the southern United States. Based in Mobile, Alabama, the chain of stores operated from 1879 until 1998 when it was taken over by Dillard's.


C.J. Gayfer migrated to Mobile, Alabama from Southwold, England sometime after the Civil War. He opened a retail department store, Gayfer's, in downtown Mobile in 1879. At the time of his death in 1915, Gayfer's employed 150 people and averaged over $500,000 in annual sales. Gayfer became well known for his philanthropy and was one of the earliest proponents of employee health care benefits.[1]

During the 1950s, the Mercantile Stores chain acquired Gayfer's, which then worked aggressively on the expansion of the chain. The first branch store was opened at Town & Country Plaza in Pensacola, Florida, in 1956. This successful move was followed four years later with the opening of the Springdale Plaza store in Mobile, Alabama, becoming the company's flagship store. The Downtown Mobile store closed in 1985.[2]

Gayfer's expanded into the Western Gulf Coast in 1963, opening a store at Edgewater Plaza Shopping City (later Edgewater Mall) in Biloxi, Mississippi. This store was expanded in 1974 and again in 1987; it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (by this time it was Dillard's) and had to be rebuilt. In 1969 a store was opened in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

In 1970, the apostrophe in the company name was dropped.[2] This was clearly a banner year for the company, as it opened stores in Montgomery, Alabama (through the purchase of Montgomery-based Montgomery Fair); Jackson, Mississippi, and started construction of a second store in Pensacola, Florida, at Cordova Mall.

For the next twenty years, new stores would be opened or remodeled, and by 1981 there were 18 stores bearing the Gayfers name. In 1989, the Gayfers flagship store anchoring Springdale Plaza and Mall in Mobile expanded to 285,000 square feet (26,500 m2). It became the largest department store between Atlanta and Houston and one of the largest department stores in the region.

In 1998, Mercantile Stores was purchased by Dillard's, Inc., and the stores that were not closed or sold to other retailers were converted to Dillard's.[2]

Across the South, each store had a prominent teen board from the 1960s onward called "The Gayfer Girls," which advised the store on the latest in teen fashions and produced local fashion shows.

Rosa Parks also worked at the Montgomery store when it was still called Montgomery Fair during the Civil Rights movement.


  1. ^ "History". Flotte's Notes on Mobile and Baldwin Citizens. Flotte's Outlines of History, Science, and Economics. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  2. ^ a b c "History". Flotte's Notes on Mobile, Alabama. Flotte's Outlines of History, Science, and Economics. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gayfers — Please support Wikipedia.
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617 videos foundNext > 

Gayfers Christmas Commercial from 1992

An old commercial for the now-defunct mall department store Gayfers from Christmas of 1992.

Gayfers Fashion Show 1989 (Part 1)

The Ariton section of the 1989 Gayfers Fashion Show.

GAYFERS Commercial 1985

GAYFERS department store television commercial that aired in the fall of 1985 during the Lee vs. J.D. football game on the cable community access channel.

Workaholics S03E10- Math is 4 Gay-fers

Funny spoof of Good Will Hunting from season 3 episode 10 "Flashback in the Day" How the gang meets the human genius i do not own this video. property of com...

gayfers fighting

Gayfers Dept. Store Hand-Made Quilts Commercial from 1994

A commercial for Gayfers a now defunct department store in Mobile, Alabama promoting hand-made quilts. From January of 1994.

Gayfers Fashion Show 1989 (Part 2)

Ariton section of the 1989 Gayfers Fashion Show.

Old Gayfers building is now gone!

via YouTube Capture.

Math is 4 Gay-Fers

Good Will Hunting scene.



617 videos foundNext > 

2 news items

Orlando Sentinel
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 08:51:47 -0700

The Orlando Fashion Square store became a Dillard's in 1998 after Dillard's spent $2.9 billion to buy Mercantile Stores Co., the parent of the Gayfers department-store chain. Gayfers formerly occupied the space. Orlando Fashion Square is being ...
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:18:45 -0700

奧蘭多時代商場是在1998年成為迪勒百貨店,迪勒花費29億元買下瑪肯泰爾公司,它是蓋費兒百貨連鎖店(Gayfers Department-store cain)的母公司。蓋費兒即在該址營業 奧蘭多時代商場被重新規劃成零售店、旅館及娛樂中心。在上週,有12條球道的全倒(StrikeOuts) ...

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