In 1930 Wilson Clothing Co., “Shoes Too”, under the direction of William J. Norton and Carleton Wilson purchased the former clothing store of Grant Cane Sr. located at 21 Broadway known as the Downing Block.
The store opened under the management of the late Parnell Latour who remained until he left to found his own business. The late Walter Duffy, Sr. then became manager and member of the firm. He served until his death in 1948 when Fred Sandberg became manager until his departure for the West in the mid-50s. Walter “Bud” Duffy Jr. was then manager until the store’s closing in 1985 assisted by Robert J. Hayes. Both Duffy & Hayes were shareholders in the firm along with William J. Norton and his son John Norton.
Over the 55 year period the business became known as “Wilsons” and the store first expanded to next door, incorporating 19 through 21 Broadway into one store. Again in 1951 the store expanded to 8-10 Broadway and then in 1961 they purchased the former Kendall Pharmacy Building at 82 Main Street. Later the store was enlarged again by connecting the two adjoining buildings, which is now occupied by the Blue Line Sport Shop. With each new location Wilsons was able to enlarge its inventory from just men’s clothing and shoes for men and women to ladies sportswear and children’s shoes, so that it became a family store.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, October 15, 1960
Wilson's Purchase Main St. Store
Mr. Walter Duffy, manager of Wilson Clothing Co, in Saranac Lake, stated that extensive renovating and additions are planned for the building prior to moving to the new location. Consistent growth and confidence in the future for Saranac Lake has prompted Wilson's to acquire the store which, after additions, will have more floor space and be a larger store than the present Wilson's store on Broadway.
Mr. Duffy said that upon completion of the new addition and construction of a modern front, Wilson's will be one of the most up-to-date stores of its kind in the North Country.
No date has been set for occupancy.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 24, 1985
Clothing store closing its doors
SARANAC LAKE — After a half century of business in Saranac Lake, Wilson's Clothing store is closing its doors.
The clothing and shoe store, made prominent by three consecutive storefronts in the midsection of Main Street, refused to make the closing official despite large "quitting business" signs covering the front windows.
In addition, a letter was sent to preferred customers of the store also saying that Wilson's is "quitting business."
At 82 Main Street, Wilson's occupied a substantial section of storefront area. With the store vacating the heart of the business district, the future of the prime commercial location is up in the air.
Advertising Director Paul Pierce said the store was waiting for closing permits from Wilson's parent store and home office in Granville, N.Y. before making the closing official. "I would say it's pretty certain (Wilson's will close) though," said Pierce. Wilson's Clothing Company Inc: also operates stores in Glens Falls, N.Y. and Manchester, Vt.
Bud Duffy, who has managed the store for 37 years along with Bob Hayes, said that the closing means eight employees would be laid off. Although the official closing date has not been established, an employee commented that it would probably be "in two to three weeks."
Wilson Clothing Company Inc. President David O'Brian declined to comment on the Saranac Lake Store.