As Brackney's Western and Men's Store closes its doors for the final time, one cannot help singing the song made famous by country singing cowboy Roy Rogers in 1950. "Happy trails to you, until we meet again."
The concept for Brackney's began in 1957 when John and Louise Brackney built a feed mill on U.S. 231, just outside the Greencastle city limits. According to their children Keith Brackney, Darrell Brackney and Sheila McCullough, the mill began to sell an abundance of horse feed in the 1960s. They said their father thought that there was enough of an interest in horses in the area to create a store that tailored to selling western apparel and equipment.
Louise told the BannerGraphic that her husband had many ideas and ambitions, and that there was not too many people going to the business at that time.
Since its creation in 1973, Brackney's Western and Men's Store, formerly known as Brackney's Western and Farm Supply Store, has been a family-run business for 33 years, with at least four generations of the family working in the store. The Brackney children said they were fortunate to have worked beside their parents and to have had their children beside them.
The family sold the feed mill a couple years after the store was built, expanded the building twice to fit the need, and opened a store in Lafayette that has already closed. They also became a tuxedo rental site after Mac's Men's Store burned in 1988. According to Keith, the tuxedo business will continue but they are not sure where yet.
Closing the store was something the family has thought about a long while. "Our kids are all through school and nobody is interested in taking the business over," Keith said about the reasoning for the closing. "They've all chosen their own career paths and we just decided it was time."
"Time for a change," Darrell added.
The Brackneys are comfortable about closing the store, but they say it is also sad at the same time.
Some of the Brackney children's fondest memories of working at the store over the years were the number of friends they made through their customers and employees, the want-to-be-a-cowboy craze from "Urban Cowboy" and Garth Brooks, and Putnam County hosting the state quarter horse show.
Louise said that the store has always been well-known throughout the county. She believes this is because of their good reputation for being honest with the customers and for carrying line items to fit the customer's needs.
The family announced their closing by hanging signs outside the store and placing advertisements in the newspapers. They even made it official by filing for a distress sale license with the Putnam Circuit Court. According to Clerk Opal Sutherlin, Brackney's has been the only business in the county to file for a distress sale license in the past 16 years.
The store is now conducting its close-out sale and it will continue until everything is gone. Everything includes the apparel, the fixtures, the office supplies. A couple of people have all ready inquired about purchasing the building.
The Brackney family expressed their appreciation to their employees over the years and the contributions they have made. They also want to thank the communities in Putnam County for all their support over the years.
"It has been a privilege to serve the community," said Keith. "It is a great place to live and do business."