CLOVIS — The Prairie Peddler, an antique store in downtown Clovis, is closing after being a fixture in the community since 1983.
The store is closing so owner Ettie Hardcastle, 89, can be with family in Lubbock, according to Robert Rhodes, son-in-law to Ettie. Hardcastle’s husband Sam died in 2012.
Karen Rhodes, daughter of the owners, and husband Robert shared what they remember about the store on the southwest corner of Main and First streets in Clovis.
The beginning inventory of The Prairie Peddler came from her parents’ antique collection.
Karen said the Hardcastles came to Clovis from Cleburne, Texas in 1965 because of her father’s job with the Santa Fe Railroad.
Hardcastle retired as a roundhouse foreman from the railroad in 1983 after working for the company for 39 years.
“He was just too young to retire,” Karen said of her father. “So they took the antiques they’d been collecting for years and started a store on Pile Street, right behind where the school administration building is.”
It was 1987 when the Hardcastles moved into what had once been the Salvation Army thrift store at Main and First streets.
“It had once been the Raton Creamery,” Robert said.
Karen said her parents gathered inventory for the store a number of ways. One method was through their traveling, Karen saying her mom and dad traveled east and west, from coast to coast.
“Sometimes they’d just close up the shop and go traveling,” Karen said.
“And sometimes they had their daughter come in and run it,” Robert said.
The Hardcastles gathered inventory at auctions, garage sales and estate sales.
Karen said people would call the Hardcastles and offer to sell their estates to them. She remembers in particular an estate in Hobbs her parents bought that had a lot of Victorian furniture.
Karen remembers her parents would buy estates, pack everything up and even clean up the house after everything had been moved out.
Karen talked of items in the store that were far from where they seemed to belong.
“One time they had a cranberry harvester,” she said. “We’re a long way from a cranberry bog here.”
Karen said there were things they called “whatzits,” things the Hardcastles acquired and they had no idea what they were.
Robert is struck by a very large piece of furniture the Hardcastles picked up in south Texas.
He described a huge display cabinet that came from a jewelry store saying it is about 16 feet long and 8 to 10 feet high. The huge cabinet came in a number of segments and each one weighed “a lot.”
“I’m glad I wasn’t around the day they moved it in the store,” Robert said.
The Hardcastles weren’t put off by furniture that was broken. Karen said her father had a workshop in back of The Prairie Peddler where her father would work on things and make them sellable.
“It seemed he’d rather be back in the workshop than in the store,” Karen said. “He was a jack of all trades.”
Both Rhodes said it’s sad to see the store closing.
“But it’s got to happen,” Karen said.
What’s to happen to the inventory? The Rhodes said they would be having a sale last week, then another sale in a few weeks.
They said the building is for sale too but they haven’t listed or advertised it yet.