Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
01:17 pm
22 March 2019

End of an era: Leesburg mainstay Getzel’s closing its doors today

freddie-mularsky-getzels-department-store-main-street-leesburg
Freddie Mularsky // Archive photo

A legend is leaving Leesburg.

Freddie Mularsky, owner of Getzel’s Department Store at 127 W. Main St., announced that today, Feb. 28, would be the last day of business for the men and boys’ clothing store. In a post on the store’s website, he cited illness as the reason for the closing.

The good news for customers is that all items are on sale at 50 percent off. A wide assortment of suits, shirts, shoes, hats, vests, suspenders, socks, and accessories are available. For more information, visit getzels.net or call 352.787.3946.

Here’s a story on Getzel’s from the March 2017 issue of Lake & Sumter Style:

Getzel’s: Tailored for tradition

It’s a familiar store on Leesburg’s Main Street. For 67 years, Getzel’s has kept the men in the area looking stylish.

The phone rang constantly at Getzel’s Department Store on a recent weekday morning while two men took turns being assisted by owner Freddie Mularsky. One customer wanted a white suit for his sister’s funeral; the other came for a black tuxedo for the Black and White Ball in The Villages.

Freddie, 57, gives his undivided attention just like his late parents Getzel and Betty Mularsky did when they opened the popular store Feb. 1, 1950.

The 127 W. Main St. shop in downtown Leesburg specializes in ethnic clothing and men’s apparel of pants, suits, jackets, ties, shirts, shoes, hats, socks and accessories, yet it has a nostalgic feel—the same cash register and decor from when Freddie’s parents and brother Melvin ran the store.

“I love helping people,” Freddie says. “I love the memories—people coming in and telling me about my parents and my brother.”

He envisions his late family members being pleased the business lives on.

Getzel’s has remained in the same location for 67 years while other department stores that once were on Main Street—Penney’s, Sears, Woolworth’s, McCrory’s—all left downtown decades ago.

“I hope my mom, dad, and my brother Melvin are happy because I’m still trying to please them,” Freddie says.

It would have been easy for him to close up shop since he’s a retired schoolteacher who taught for 30 years, including 18 of these at Leesburg High School before ending his career at Tavares Middle School.

“Running Getzel’s is not as easy as teaching school,” says Freddie, who happily continues the traditions his parents started, including giving away socks with every pair of shoes purchased.

“We have been doing that for 67 years; we have given away hundreds of thousands of socks,” he says.

“I’m impressed,” says first-time customer Mel McLaughlin of The Villages, and a member of Sophisticated Gents. “My friend, Art, bought his tux here and he recommended Getzel’s to me.”

Freddie credits customers from The Villages for boosting business while Freddie’s son, Nathan, 29, says being in Getzel’s is special. “It brings back memories of my grandfather,” he adds.

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