Brett’s department store was one of downtown Mankato’s largest and most popular destinations during its long lifetime from 1868 until 1991. George E. Brett came to Minnesota from Maine in 1863. Five years later he opened George E. Brett, Inc. on the corner of South Front and Jackson Streets.
For almost 50 years, George ran the store, until handing it over to his son Edward Brett in 1915. From Edward, the business was passed to his nephew Brett Taylor. He was succeeded by two more generations of Taylors: Brett Taylor, Jr. and Scott Taylor. In this family-run business, a Brett or Taylor could always be found around the Mankato store.
The business grew to include a number of stores in southern Minnesota, but in 1991 things began to change, especially in Mankato. Faced with a recession and the opening of River Hills Mall, the Mankato store failed to make a profit. While other Front Street stores relocated to Mankato’s hilltop, the new center for retail, Brett’s chose to remain downtown. The Mankato store closed in early 1991 and it was soon announced that all the Brett’s stores were closing.
TBT, or Throwback Thursday, is done in partnership with KEYC News 12, Mankato. This segment can be vied during the Noon News on Thursdays.