Buckle celebrates 50 years
It all began in Kearney in 1967.
"It was Mills Clothing Company and Brass Buckle and then we joined those two together," said Buckle district manager, Jim Kolbo. "Back then it was just downtown stores and we had kind of a rustic wood and orange shag carpet and just kind of real basic atmosphere."
Eventually, as the times evolved, so did the company.
"That atmosphere has changed at the store over the years to kind of a grey tone and now we're to the more tan tones that you see up at the mall here in town," said Kolbo.
Fifty years later, Buckle has grown into the current, iconic national brand.
"I've been here for 34 years, and back then we had approximately 22 stores," said Kolbo. "Now, we have 467 stores and so that's just exciting that progress over the years."
Buckle employs approximately 750 people in Kearney alone, with about 8,000 employees nationwide.
But it's not just stores that are growing and evolving, Buckle's brands have also changed.
"Denim, from day one, has been our foundation and everybody loves jeans and now denim just keeps evolving," said Kolbo.
"It definitely has evolved," said Hilltop Mall Buckle store manager, Kasha Johnson. "We went from super blingy, super bright, everything fun. Now we're kind of going back to some of our vintage styles, like brands from Lucky, Levi, Calvin Klein, are just a few to name."
"Not only brands, but even the fits, the finishes," said Kolbo. "From a skinny jean to of course bell bottoms have been in before and they'll probably come back again."
Wednesday, NTV will show how Buckle is celebrating their anniversary. The story will dig into the tough economic times many fashion retailers, including Buckle, are facing and how the store is looking to the future to stay open for another fifty years.