One afternoon I went to visit with Gay and Wes Forsythe at Nando Jones for history on the store and Mr. Nando. Like many of you shopping at Nando Jones was a pleasant memory of growing up and coming to “town”.
My grandfather and Mr. Nando were friends. The fact my grandfather was only 5ft 4 he got his work clothes and shoes in the boys dept. at Nando’s. Going to visit Mr. Nando was a fascinating journey.Gay pointed out to me on many occasions that she had picked out several “Sunday” dresses for me. She would laugh because she and the ladies would pick out a pink dress and convince Granddaddy to buy it.I hated pink dresses and she knew it.
Let me give you a bit of history .
William Nando Jones actually began his dry goods career on the south side of West Lafayette, working in the retail store owned by A. Frank.
With a small loan, Nando and his partner Louis Altfeld bought some overalls and bow ties and moved into the first of his storied brick buildings that would become a city landmark in 1937.
Built in the mid-1800s, the building closest to Shannon Street began its history as a savings and loan – and a “recreational” lodge.There were a lot of those lodges on the top floors where illegal gambling and drinking went on.
Poker and beer were the gathering cry of many a businessman who met in secrecy on the upper floor of the first of the four buildings erected that would later become Nando Jones.
When they were expanding the store Wes said they found a lot of pictures of people gambling upstairs in 109 West Lafayette St.
Nando’s was known not only the assortment of merchandise but the sizes. Ladies underwear up to size 4x and men’s overalls to size 54.
Gay worked in the store forever she could remember helping in the Shoe Department at age 6. She met her husband Wes at the store when he started work at Nando’s when he was in college at Union. (Wes was born on June 1, 1931. He graduated from Peabody High School in Trenton where he was a star football player. He then went to college at Pearl River on a football scholarship. He joined the United States Marine Corps and served during the Korean War. He then came back and graduated from Union University with a degree in Business Administration.) He married Gay Jones Forsythe in 1955.
Gay would tell people her Dad sat up a crib in the office after she had her baby so she could get back to work as the bookkeeper as soon as possible. “Our children and grandchildren have worked at “Nando’s .It was just part of their lives.” Gay told me
When the storm came through in 2003 the store could not be rebuilt. “It’s was heartbreaking,”Gay told me . “We tried to build back three times, but something happened every time.”
They opened up at the old Liberty building on Airways but it was not the same.
The city purchased the Nando Jones buildings and other properties running along West Lafayette from Shannon Street east to North Highland, plus the Hopper Smith building for $486,500, according to Paul George, principal planner for the Jackson Planning Department.
Now we have the memories of Nando Jones the man and the store. Gay died in 2016 and Wes this year they were such special individuals and were a part of Jackson’s history.
This photo was taken about 1926 of the old Altfeld and Jones Dry Goods store that became Nando Jones when Louis Alfeld died and William Nando Jones bought his share of the store. William Nando Jones is pictured on the far left. Louis Altfeld is in the far right
.look at the hats
-fact sheet i gave Ned Hunter for his article in 2005About the Nando Jones buildings* William Nando Jones started working in dry goods as a teenager for A. Frank.* Frank’s store was located on the south side of West Lafayette, directly across from where Jones would eventually open his own store with his partner Louis Altfeld.* Nando Jones and Altfeld bought the first of four buildings on the north side of West Lafayette in 1937.* The buildings were constructed from handmade brick.* Animal hair or hay was used to keep the sand in the bricks together.* The building closest to Shannon Street is the oldest of the Jones buildings.* Originally a savings and loan, it was built sometime in the mid-1880s.* There is an underground walkway from the building going under West Lafayette running north to south.* The buildings were first destroyed by arson in 1864 during the Civil War.
* Nando Jones was in business with Louis Altfeld from 1926-1943.* The business was then called Altfeld and Jones.* Jones later bought Altfeld’s interest in the business from Altfeld’s family after Altfeld’s death.Ps. – The first building bought by Jones and Altfeld in 1937 was 111 W. Lafayette. They then purchased Ollie Only’s Pool Hall on their east side in 1967. Jones later acquired both the former Walker Grocery store at 113 W. Lafayette and the old Kroger building at 115 W. Lafayette.* William Nando Jones died in 1991. (1902-1991)yes, I talked mr Paige, who had the contract to destroy the building, out of a brick in exchange for the history of the building.