After the Feb. 16 announcement that they’d purchased Weakley-Watson Hardware, the Jacobs family formally took possession of the 140-year-old Brownwood institution last week.
New store manager Weston Jacobs recently returned to Brownwood from Dallas with his wife, Emily, to take over the store’s operation. Jacobs said he always planned on moving back to his hometown someday, but the purchase brought him back sooner than he’d ever expected.
“It was kind of a weird trickle of events,” Jacobs said, “because I had texted [Tim Jacobs] earlier and saw that Weakley-Watson was closing down. I grew up coming here. I’m from Brownwood. So I came in and saw on Facebook that it was closing down, and I got weirdly emotional about it.
“You get kind of upset that a hometown place is closing down like this,” Jacobs said. “Every time I ever came home to Brownwood, I came to Weakley-Watson for something.”
Jacobs said his father’s response changed everything. “I get a text back from him not long after that. It said, ‘What do you think if we go in on this?’
“It was a little bit of a shock,” Jacobs said. “I didn’t expect life to turn that fast.” Jacobs was settled, working in inventory for a Peterbilt subsidiary. It took less than a month for the purchase, and the move, to come together. But he said he’s enjoying the return home. “It feels strangely good,” Jacobs said. “I’ve always loved Brownwood. I’ve always been excited to be here.
“Everywhere I go, you meet somebody that you know,” he said. “My wife’s … from Grand Prairie, so I think it’s kind of freaked her out a little bit. I don’t think we’ve been in a store yet where we haven’t seen somebody that knew me from growing up.”
Jacobs said the community is “ecstatic” to see the store remain open. He credited Mike Blagg with handing over a store, and a legacy, in great shape. “He worked for a long time to create a name that this community — people cried that this place was closing. And that’s all a credit to the staff, and to Mike Blagg.”
Jacobs said the staff, which has been retained through the transition, is adjusting well to the change. “It’s tough, because they love Mike so much,” he said. “Who can blame them? He was a terrific boss for them, and he’s been great to us, too, helping teach me little tricks of the trade.
“They’ve been really receptive. I know it’s tough on them, but they’re excited about what the future holds,” he said.
Though Jacobs said he intends to maintain the Weakley-Watson tradition, he does expect some big changes during his tenure. “We’ve got a lot of plans in the works,” he said. “We’re going to try to open up some product lines a little bit, and get more of the things people need in here. The great thing about Weakley-Watson is whatever you need, they’ve got it. They might have one of it, but they’ve got it, so you never have to do without. We intend to keep that. The same people, the same service, but there will be some pretty significant changes coming in some regards.”
Above all, though, Jacobs said it’s an honor to take over a store that has meant so much to him, his family and his community. “I feel blessed,” he said. “I feel the Lord’s worked a lot in our lives. We asked for open doors if this was something we needed to pursue, and the doors kept opening.
“It’s fun being home next to family,” he said. “And people are really excited that they get to keep coming here.”
Weakley-Watson Hardware is located at 1414 Austin Ave. in Brownwood.