Christesen's Western Wear in downtown Pleasanton has announced it will permanently close its doors after nearly a century of serving the East Bay's agricultural and equestrian community amid changing local demographics.
While the Christesen's sister store Baughman's Western Outfitters in downtown Livermore will continue to operate, owner Rory Janes says the Pleasanton store -- which has been located in downtown Pleasanton for 92 years -- will be closing due to downtown Pleasanton becoming more restaurant-centric as opposed to retail, as well as the region's transition from rural area to a more urban center.
"Pleasanton downtown is more of a dining center, not so much retail anymore," Janes told the Weekly. "Pleasanton has evolved away from the need for a store like this slowly over the years, with a lot of infill for housing and less of an equestrian base. And, of course, horse racing is also a factor."
"For years there were hundreds of horses boarded out by the track and that's not so much anymore. All of the horse made products were huge for our base," he added.
Janes added that in addition to the region's somewhat drastic changes that have occurred in the region's demographics over the past century, financial impacts from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic also played a role in pushing the store's closure.
"COVID kind of pushed us over the edge there," he said.
An official closing date has not been announced yet, but Janes anticipates that the final day may be held sometime in August. That timeline depends on how the store's closing sale shakes out over the next couple of months.
Advertised as the largest sale in the store's history, Christesen's is seeking to liquidate its entire inventory, with store fixtures and equipment also for sale in addition to the equestrian gear and western wear.
Janes added that the closing feels bittersweet, but the sale has brought out significant support from the community who have come to share stories of times in Christesen's and to say goodbye.
"We're hearing a lot of stories from people who are 50 or 60 years old saying they got their first boots here when they were 6 years old or ‘we got our daughter's first boots here,’" Janes said. "(Closing) has been coming for some time. It’s a sad thing but you know change is inevitable."