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Austin feed store closes after 45 years in business

After more than 45 years in business, Buck Moore Feed and Supply closed it's doors for good. The owners decided to close the family owned and operated business and enjoy retirement.

With all the hustle and bustle on N. Lamar Boulevard, it's easy to drive by a little piece of old Austin. But if you stop and step inside Buck Moore Feed and Supply, you may feel like you've stepped back in time.

An adding machine is used to tally up your total and a decades-old cash register is where you pay.

"We're a real anomaly being, not just being a feed store, but truthfully being an old family business," said Ken Bushong.

Bushong owns the store with his wife Patty. The couple, their son John, his wife Dejah and the grandkids, Tommy and Vella, make up the store's entire staff.

"It's been awesome," said Patty, "Because we get to see each other every day."

As you might imagine, the family business is more than just a store for the Bushongs; the building's four walls hold their family history.

"I played Hot Wheels on the floor. I grew up in this place," said John Bushong.

When Everett "Buck" Moore came back from World War II, he started working at a feed store in Austin. In 1972, he and his wife Billie opened their own.

"I used to come here everyday when I wasn't in class, wasn't in school," Patty recalled. "I used to work through here and dusted the shelves and helped with merchandise and stuff like that."

She paid her way through the University of Texas by working in the store.

"It was family then. It was my mother and my dad and my brother and I," Patty added.

Her beau started to help out at her parent's store when he returned from Vietnam.

"I came home in '75 and came in to help him unload a truck the day after I got home. And just never managed to leave," Ken said with a smile.

Through the years, the family watched their little town become a big city.

"We were pretty much on the edge of town when we opened up in '72 and we still had a farmhouse next door and lots of vacant land," Ken recalled.

As Austin's demographics changed, so did the store's supplies. It went from serving mostly ranchers to mostly residents with a focus on yards, gardens and pets.

"Somewhere around the year 2000, my son and I started shipping in organic feed from Pennsylvania," said Ken. "And we saw an increase in the number of chickens in Austin. And urban agriculture has kind of taken off."

The store not only carried chicks and everything you need to raise them, but John is pretty much an expert in helping customers learn how to take care of them.

"We needed some advice and some help and these guys have just been great," said customer Kevin Baker. "It's going to be so sad that this is their last day, they're closing up their doors."

The sad day for customers is ushering in a fresh start for the family; retirement.

"My husband and I are getting old," said Patty with a laugh. "We're getting to 70."

"I drive in from Bastrop. My son lives almost to Copperas Cove," added Ken. "It's getting cumbersome."

Rather than sell to a new owner, the Bushongs decided to close the store Saturday, Feb. 10.

"We couldn't depend that somebody else would run a feed store and carry on in what we thought was our legacy I guess or my father-in-law's legacy," said Ken. "My father-in-law's favorite saying was 'I can do without your business, I just can't do without your friendship.' And so we've always taken that to heart."

Putting people-first is a practice that served Buck Moore Feed and Supply well from the time they opened until the doors close one last time.

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