A Tradition of Fine Service
Norton Ditto first opened its doors on Main Street in downtown Houston in 1908. The store was original apparel. Houston’s elite gentlemen patronized the store by arriving in either a horse drawn carriage or an early vintage automobile.
After Mr. Barringer’s death in the early 1930′s the store was called Norton’s until 1940 when it became Norton-Carraci.
Mr. Lanson B. Ditto, Sr, a clothing manufacture’s representative, while conducting business with the store, learned of Mr. Carraci’s desire to leave the retail business. In 1944 Mr. Ditto bought out Mr. Carraci’s interest and the store became Norton Ditto. That same year after completing their military duty, Lanson and Ben Ditto, Lanson Ditto Sr.’s sons, join the store’s staff. At that time, the store was located in the Esperson building on Travis in downtown Houston.
In 1952 the Ditto family bought out the Norton family. Also that year, the store moved a couple of blocks south to a new larger facility, located on the ground floor in the new Bank of the Southwest Building, at Travis and McKinney. It was at this location that Norton Ditto’s reputation as the premier men’s store in Houston, and one of the finest haberdashers in the USA, was amplified. Reluctantly, in 1992 the family decided to close the downtown store. The changing business demographics of downtown forced most of Houston’s leading retailers to exit from their roots.
In 1965 a second store located on Post Oak Blvd. was opened and remained a vital operation for over 40 years. In 2002 Norton Ditto moved operations to its current location on West Alabama at Kirby Drive. The new 6,200 square foot store is located between two premiere residential areas of River Oaks and West University. The commute from downtown or Houston’s medical center is less then 10 minutes. New office, housing, and retail developments have made the area one of the hottest retail centers in the city.
The families of Lanson B. Ditto, Jr. and Ben Ditto were owners and operators of the business for almost 60 years. Today the store’s principle owner and CEO is Dick Hite, a nephew of Ben and Sarah Ditto. (See “Our Staff” on the web site’s menu for information about our current employees.)
Norton Ditto West Alabama
Dick Hite is the principle owner and CEO of Norton Ditto. He originally joined the firm on the first of October in 1969 and was employed by the store until 1984 when he left to pursue other interests. Dick returned to the store in 1994 and in 2003 he became principle owner of the store.
Gentry Babineaux was working at Perlis Clothing in his hometown of New Orleans when hurricane Katrina hit. After relocating to Houston shortly thereafter, he worked at Harolds “in the Heights”, where he was the Sales Manager. Gentry joined the staff at Norton Ditto in September of 2011, after Harolds closed their doors.
When customers comes into our store they are welcomed by Hope with a gracious and warm smile. Mrs. Ewing, who joined Norton Ditto after an extended experience in customer service, is Manager of the store’s Customer Service Department. Hope supports the firm’s CEO by assisting him in his managerial duties…. plus she oversees the processing of alterations.
Dale Jones has been in the clothing business all of his life. Originally from Springfield, Illinois, Dale recently joined Norton Ditto after 30 years at Harolds “in the Heights” as their top salesman. His speciality is the Big & Tall Department and boasts some of Houston’s most influential people as customers.
His career with Norton Ditto began on August 1, 1976 and he currently serves as General Manager of the store. While he excels at his managerial duties, he really enjoys working with customers and developing a long term relationship. Roger has earned a reputation as a professional haberdasher because of his vast knowledge of the business, his sincere respect for clothing, and his sartorial appearance.
Johnny Mykoff’s career in shoes started 36 years ago when he worked at his dad’s shoe store in Alexandria Louisiana. Since then, Johnny spent over 15 years as the manager at Harolds “in the Heights” Shoe Department. Now with Norton Ditto, not only does Johnny assist his customers by completing their outfit with hand made designer shoes, they also have the reassurance that they are being fit by a professional.
Pat is the manager of the shoe department. His experience in shoes, over 38 years, is the reason he is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable shoe professionals in Houston. He has been associated with Norton Ditto since September 1995. Whether he is professing the virtues of quality leather, securing a proper fit for a customer, or demonstrating his enthusiasm for his work, Pat exemplifies a true professional.
Norton Ditto Woodlands
Dinora Chavarria joined Norton ditto in November of 1998. Today she serves as a salesperson at our new Woodlands location.
Our Operations Staff
Mrs. Jackson joined Norton Ditto in March of 1983 and is always upbeat and gracious to all she is in contact with. She manages the merchandise/purchasing department and receiving process for suits, sport coats, and dress trousers that are presented in the store. In addition, she over sees Norton Ditto’s Human Resources/payroll and benefit programs for employees. Finally, Queen manages the inventory activities that are implemented in the store.
Mrs. Ramirez manages the merchandise/purchasing of sportswear, furnishing, and accessories that arrive for the store. Reina manages all account receivable activities and interfaces with Norton Ditto’s clients.She also helps in the operations of the customer service desk at the store. Besides her spunky personality she is known for paying attention to the details. The store was very fortunate when Reina began her career with us in June of 1992.
When one thinks of a skilled tailor they must immediately recognize Marco Perez. He specializes in performing the most difficult alterations involving the collar, shoulders, sides, and chest of a coat. Besides tailoring clothing Marco is an expert at altering shirts. The store is very privileged to claim Mr. Perez as one of our staff members. We welcomed Mr. Perez into the Norton Ditto family this year.
Remembering Former Employees
Warren has one of the longest continual years of service of any Norton Ditto employee. He joined the store on October 9, 1969, as part of our sales staff. Warren distinguished himself by serving the company in various sales and management positions throughout his career. In April of 2013, Warren was the honoree of a small gathering of family and friends to announce and celebrate his retirement. Today he enjoys spending time with his wife, Nancy, daughter and son in law, Catherine and Ken Christen, his son, Collin and his grandchildren.
We salute Warren and thank him for his many years of dedicated service to Norton Ditto.
Brian was a member of the Norton Ditto family for over 30 years as both the clothing buyer and part of the sales staff. Brian originally joined the firm in July of 1976 and left for other interests in September of 1990. He rejoined the firm in April of 1994. His duties, as buyer, included buying the store’s inventory of suits, sport coats, trousers, top coats, and tuxedoes. Besides his buying responsibilities, Brian had an impressive list of customers from all over the world.
Brian passed away suddenly, at his home, on Thursday, April 4, 2013. He will be remembered for his professionalism and developing a meaningful relationship with his customers, along with his wit and sense of humor. Brian is survived by his wife Narda, and his daughter, Gabby, who was the light of his life.
Brian will always hold a special place in our hearts.