In 1914, the first Nichols store was founded by H.A. Nichols in DeQuincy, Louisiana from savings accumulated while working at a sawmill for $1.50 per day. In 1934, after attending college at Louisiana State University, T.D. Nichols, better known as Truman, began working with his father in DeQuincy. Upon his father's death in 1948, Truman assumed ownership of the family business.
After working with his father for many years, he was prepared to lead the business into the future. Truman grew the business considerably during his tenure, adding additional stores throughout Louisiana and a central warehouse in Many. Known to have a knack with numbers, he could easily add up any numbers without a calculator. This skill came in handy in his love for playing dominos and cards.
Many days Truman would have a special young partner working next to him, his daughter Debbie Nichols. At an early age, Debbie began learning about the family business from her father. Whether cleaning shelves, counting boxes, selling fireworks, or ordering crayons, she found out early on what was involved in the retail business. After graduating from Northwestern State, Debbie began working full time in the business as a buyer and running the warehouse with her father. In 1998, Debbie became a third generation owner of the Nichols stores after the death of her father.
Debbie saw the need to make changes in the merchandise that was being carried in her stores. She added gift items, home decor, flowers and baby clothing and accessories. Registries for the bride to be, babies and housewarming were started. The clothing department was expanded and updated to show her style and youth. In addition, several of the smaller Nichols stores were closed to focus more on those that were larger and more profitable. Debbie's vision and willingness to change were key components to the stores future success.
After managing her family business for 17 years, Debbie's time as owner ended in the Fall of 2015 when she succumbed to her private battle with colon cancer. Like her father, Debbie also had someone, though not a family member, whom she trained to someday run her family business. That person was her young protege, Lauren Moore. Today, Lauren is the owner and president of Nichols Dry Goods Co. of Many, which includes the Nichols stores in Many, Leesville, Coushatta and Winnfield as well as the warehouse in Many. She carries on the legacy left by Debbie and Debbie's father and grandfather with her on vision and unique sense of style.