Beloved Houston business closing after 104 years

HOUSTON – After 104 years in business, Southern Importers in downtown Houston is closing its doors Saturday.

From party decor to costumes and fabric, the Houston institution has a little bit of everything. Now it is all on sale as owner Mickey Frost clears out all of the remaining inventory. He said he knew this day was coming, but he still gets nostalgic remembering the legacy his family built. 

The History

Ann and Milton Frost took over Southern Importers in the '30s.
Ann and Milton Frost took over Southern Importers in the '30s.

Frost's uncle opened the business in 1915. His parents took it over in the '30s. Back then, they sold only display items to department stores and theatrical supplies. It wasn't until the '60s that Southern Importers became a retail store when homeowners started decorating for the holidays.

"Because there was no place else in town at the time that sold Christmas lights or ornaments," explained Frost. "They didn't have decorations." 

Frost remembers traveling the world to find unique items for the store, hence the name "Southern Importers." But in the world of Amazon and online shopping, he said competition is fierce. 

"All this kind of stuff is available online," he said. "And it's really, really hard to do things that are unique like it used to be." 

Frost sold the property to developers, who say the plot at 4825 San Jacinto will become a mixed-use development. 

Everything in the store is 40% off this week until the doors close Saturday forever. 

"Come in. Take a last look. Walk down memory lane as they say. And maybe pick up some good bargains," Frost said.