Ferguson Brothers Hardware to close after nearly 80 years

Posted June 13, 2018 at 3:08 pm

Gary and Pearl.psd

In 1939, a rolling store, started out as a way to help out communities in the area and quickly evolved into to what is now Ferguson Brothers store.

Now, after nearly 80 years, owners Gary and Pearl Ferguson have decided to close the doors.

“I told her if we were going to do anything, now is the time to do it,” Gary said.

In 1939, Gary said his dad and his dad’s brothers would load up two trucks in the morning and travel to Beach Bottom and Russell County to sell items.

As far as the history of the store is concerned, Gary said his uncles and his dad, Jack Ferguson, started it all back in 1939.

“Jack loved it here,” Pearl said. “If Jack was here he would say do it too. He came in and out of here until he was 90 something and the last three years before he passed away he didn’t come back. He enjoyed his business.”

Jack Ferguson passed away in 2012 at 94 years old.

Jay, Paul and George Ferguson, along with Jack, were the original brothers of “Ferguson Brothers.”

“George sent money in from the army while he was away,” Gary said.

Of the four brothers, Jay eventually got married and wanted out of the business. When George got in from the army, he wanted in as well.

“I don’t know how they came up with this, but Dad owned five shares, Paul owned five shares and George owned two shares,” Gary said.

When Gary was a kid, he would stay with his grandmother while his mother and father worked.

“She would send me to a little store in Clear Fork with eggs to get her coffee and sugar. Those were the only two things she bought,” Gary said. “Back then, there was a certain type of chewing gum that was a penny and had four pieces of yellow chewing gum in it. If there was a couple cents difference on her eggs from what she was buying, then I could get the chewing gum with it. Back in the 30s it was pretty tough. They would sell a little groceries and some hardware and people would pay them with chickens and eggs. They would then sell it to Oscar McWhorter’s produce.”

Gary started out working at Ferguson’s when he was a teenager.

Gary went to the navy and came back to sell Ford tractors. When he went out of business selling farm machinery, Gary said he spent most of his time tending the 600 acres of farm land his family had.

When one of the brothers would pass away they would have to buy their shares, but before Jack passed away, Gary said his father was proud to say they were debt free.

“A lot of people have asked me if we can afford to close,” Gary said. “Well yeah I can lock the doors and leave it in here if I have to. If you owed a big bunch of money then it would be a different story. Two or three years before he died, Dad had paid off everything he owned and for once in life he was tickled to be free and clear out of debt.”

The hardware store is now located on Cross Street and has been for the better part of the years Ferguson’s has been in business. Gary said in 1957 the hardware store burned and they rebuilt it and made it bigger.

“The reason we are closing down is I’m 76 years old and Pearl is 72. My son Jerry was killed (in an automobile accident) and my daughter is the principal at the high school (Stacey Evans), and business has really slowed up here,” He said “We just decided that if we are ever gonna do anything we needed to do it. Right now I wouldn’t care a bit to take off to Florida, but when I’m in my 80s I might not feel that way.”

Pearl said she will miss all the people who come in to the store on a daily basis.

“I’ll miss my customers,” Pearl said. “We have some really good customers and they are a joy to be around. I’ve enjoyed it. Of course I talk a lot so I’ve enjoyed talking to people. It’s been good to us. The kids thought I needed to retire too. I will miss it.”

Even though the decision had been made, it didn’t come lightly.

“It was hard because I’ve been here like 45 years and all my kids were raised here and grandkids were raised here,” Pearl said. “It’s been a hard decision, but I guess I’ve accepted it and I’ve just said ‘Ok … this is going to happen.'”

The family also operated Ferguson Brothers Food Store – a full line grocery store in the half of the building that now houses appliances and furniture.

That store offered a full line of groceries, including canned goods, meats and produce.

Pearl said the store had evolved since the beginning. In the adjoining building, back in the 80s and 90s, the grocery was leased as an IGA grocery store .

The main store has always been a hardware store and it all will close in the coming weeks.

“It’s been good,” Gary said. “They made a living and we’ve made a living.”

Gary said his plans were if he were to sell most of the inventory, he might put the building and lot up for sale at a later date.

“If I don’t get the stuff out them I will let it set in here,” Gary said.

Ferguson Brothers hasn’t been open in the past year or more on Saturday, however, Gary said the store will be open on June 16 and June 23, which will be the next two Saturdays.

“Where it will be closed down, it will hurt me to drive past it,” Gary said. “There is a whole lot of memories here. My mom and dad, it was their whole life. You have to get to the point to realize you can’t do as much as you used to.”

“A lot of thought went into it,” Pearl said. “He sees most of his friends passing away and some of them who don’t get around very good any more. He said ‘right now I can drive pretty good and I just want to travel some.'”

Ferguson Brothers will officially close its doors on Saturday, June 30, 2018.

Gary and Pearl Ferguson, in front of Ferguson Brothers Hardware on Cross Street. The couple have decided to close the business at the end of June.