Tuesday, June 2, 2015


                                                     Henry Rollins

     I feel a loss for a name that has been around Kansas, Wichita in particular, for many years.  Sheplers the World's Largest Western Store is no more.  Well not the store itself but the name.  We lost the local ownership many years ago when it sold to New York interests and then to Texas interests.  Now the chain will be relabeled as THE BOOT BARN.
     It seems a shame that at least the Kansas legacy of the company is gone forever.  Seems that Kansas is not sexy enough for many of the companies that were founded here and then had their roots pulled up and are gone.
     White Castle, Pizza Hut, Boeing, Mentholatum, and many more.  The Murdock family sold the Wichita Eagle and it has since traded owners several times.  Progress goes on but it is not often an improvement.
      The Boot Barn is a good company and I cannot find anger in them acquiring something that is in line with what they do.  But I wish that they could see to it that the name survive in some form.  I have had disagreements on how the store was run in years past and have tried to make my case to the managers that they bring in from elsewhere eager to use the MBA that they hang on the wall.  It has been many years since I have been able to do business there.  Mostly that is because of my stature and the presumption that all cowboys are skinny and look like they just had a hook worm treatment.  Plus the fact that working cowboys are more likely to get what they need from Tractor Supply.
     I lived one mile from Harry Shepler.  I was not close to the family but I watched him judge rodeos for years.  We always thought he would fall off his horse he rode so crooked.  He was a little crippled up.
      I pumped gas for him at Blasi Oil Company and was there when Harry did not see the tire changer and bent it over with his Cadillac.  I remember the first store on West Kellogg but not the original store in town.
     We seem to lose a lot from our small towns and rural areas but Wichita has been hit just as hard over the years.  It does not seem that long ago that Coleman was still owned by the family.  That Cessna still had family members working there and that Mrs. Beech would still go into the office and make sure that things were still running good.  Bill Lear came to town and created a stir in an industry that was well established and did things that were thought to be impossible for someone who had never been brought up or trained in aircraft.
     It has not been that long ago that a farmer could work at Boeing and take off for harvest and when a problem came up at NASA they would say send it up to Wichita and let those farmers figure it out.  Kansas pretty much invented thinking outside the box.
     We Kansans are pretty good at figuring things out and creating companies that can end up having more than one generation working for.  It is too bad we can't keep the big time folks from moving it all away.

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