Alexander Davis menswear of Boise closes after 131 years

Moses Alexander opened the store in 1891 before becoming the 11th governor of Idaho and the first practicing Jewish governor in US history.

BOISE, Idaho – It’s a reminder of 131 years of preparation. The Alexander Davis menswear store in downtown Boise is closing after nearly a century and a half in business.

Moses Alexander opened the shop in 1891. He later served two terms as Mayor of Boise Territory before becoming 11th Governor of Idaho. Moses Alexander was the first observant Jewish governor in United States history.

“He couldn’t afford to hire a lot of help, but his hobby was politics,” said Moses’ grandson, Nate Alexander, 92. “I was told he used to do some of his government business right in the store.”

Nate served in the Korean War and worked in the family business after returning home. His life path had other business ventures and Nate never wanted to take over the store.

The Alexanders have owned and operated the store for over 100 years. In 2006, longtime employee David Graves brought the store.

Graves spent 42 years of his life working for the namesake Alexander.

“You don’t have a lot of legacy businesses left,” Graves said. “Even with my years of independence as an owner, I still consider myself the torchbearer.”

Alexander Davis Men’s Clothing the lease ends on April 30 and that will be the store’s last day, according to Graves.

The store is not closing due to COVID-19 difficulties or lack of support. The store’s sales in 2021 eclipsed their pre-pandemic numbers in 2019, Graves said.

“After serving the Boise community for 131 years, the curtains are closing at Alexander Davis as we retire,” the store window reads.

Graves hangs up his hat with no one fit to receive the torch.

“Someone could come in and cash us in and chase it, but is it their heart? Is their heart in it? That’s the question,” Graves said. “You have to realize that when things line up a certain way, you have no choice but to move on.”

It is a chapter of Alexander’s legacy that has come to an end. There are no mixed feelings from the family supporting David and his decision to close the doors.

“As much as I feel bad, I want to say I’m just glad we had someone so qualified to continue running the store,” Nate Alexander said. “He really did a great job. We really appreciate everything David has done. Now that the store is going to be closed, it will be just a memory.”

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