Flashback Friday: Gibson’s Was Once the Retail King of Wichita Falls
Gibson's Discount Center is a name some of you will remember fondly and other's will not know at all. Before Wal-Mart, there was Gibson's. The company started in Abilene, TX in the 1930's and at one point there were nearly 700 franchise stores in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Legend has it that Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, once tried to buy into the franchise. The last Gibson's store in our area closed down over 20 years ago. The Cecil Streich family owned the Wichita Falls stores, located on Kemp Blvd where the former Denim and Diamonds now sits and downtown on 12th Street. The T.J. Henry family owned stores in Vernon, Lawton and Altus. The last Gibson's store in our area closed down over 20 years ago. The only remaining stores I know of are now in Weatherford and Kerrville, TX.
I worked there over 25 years ago. Minimum wage was about $4.25 an hour, the popcorn was always fresh and you could smell the nacho's from the concession stand from Kell Blvd. We didn't make much money, but we certainly had lot's of fun.
We came across an old Gibson's television ad from the 1980's, shared on Facebook by Wichita County Commission Mark Beachamp. The blonde (seen in a yellow top about half way into the ad) is Commissioner Beachamp's now wife, Sam. She identified the brunette in the ad as Shannon Hawkins, who went on to appear on the t.v. drama "LA Law", which ran on NBC from 1986-1994.