Oldest hardware store in Texas celebrates change of ownership
BROWNWOOD, Texas - At the start of 2017, the fate of Texas's oldest hardware store was uncertain as plans were in the works for the Brownwood business to close.
But after 140 years of being under one family, Weakley-Watson Hardware was sold to the Jacobs family and a re-grand opening is taking place all this weekend to celebrate a changing of the guard.
From 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, there will be free food and giveaways in front of the store, located on 1414 Austin Avenue.
"They've come in almost in tears, some of them actually in tears telling us how thankful they are," Weston Jacobs, the store's Chief Operating Officer, said on Friday. "It's a hardware store. I didn't know you could get so emotional over a hardware store."
The Jacobs family purchased the store from Mike Blagg on March 1. Part of that purchase involved changing the store's affiliation from carrying True Value products to Ace Hardware.
Blagg's great-great-grandfather opened the store in 1876. Last year, the Texas Historical Commission recognized them as the oldest hardware store in the Lone Star State.
"We kept the same old people, because they made this store great to begin with," Jacobs said.
Jacobs said the greatest challenge for the store is to keep the Weakley-Watson legacy alive during the online shopping age. Some brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to stay open as they face challenges from online retailers, like Amazon..
"I think Brownwood need this," Jacobs said. "They're excited to see someone who wants to put life back in the community."