Western Mercantile opens for business

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While some businesses are feeling the pinch and closing their doors, one businessman is celebrating the opening of his fifth store.

 

Allen Truel opened his Socorro Western Mercantile store last month. Truel has stores in Tijeras, Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Bosque Farms and Las Cruces. The Western Mercantile in Socorro sells a variety of high-quality dog and cat food, as well as feed for larger furry friends, including horses and cows.

Truel prides himself in catering to the needs of the community.

“Part of what we do is cater to the local market,” he said. “We’re not a cookie-cutter store, we carry a variety of feed, farm supplies and western clothing.”

The store also carries western-style jewelry and accessories as well as a large variety of ropes. Jerry Gum, the store’s manager, said they are only carrying 65 percent of the merchandise that Truel would like to have in stock.

“He (Truel) is using the soft opening approach, we’ll stock more merchandise as we determine what people buy most,” Gum said. “You need to take care of your customers and listen to what they want.”

Customers who visit the store can request special items via a notebook at the cash register. Gum noted that ropes are a popular sales item for patrons who use them for a variety of things from roping calves to heading and heeling. Gum also said the type of merchandise carried varies at each location. For example the store in Tijeras sells a lot of birdseed whereas the store in Albuquerque sells more feed.

Truel is hesitant to give advice to anyone venturing into the world of small businesses due to the state of the economy. However, Gum has a theory to the secret of Truel’s success.

“He’s a hard worker. That’s why he does so well because he’s willing to work,” said Gum, noting the success of Truel’s other stores.

Gum owned and operated the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise on California street for 36 years before deciding to move on. He met Truel through a mutual friend shortly after the close of his business. After a phone interview, Truel felt comfortable enough to hire Gum to run his new store in Socorro. Gum’s experience with horses also made him a prime candidate.

“I’ve owned horses before, but I’m still receiving a lot of on-the-job training. Mostly, I enjoy working with people,” said Gum.