WHITESBORO — Dennard’s Farm Supply has called Texoma home for well over a century. The feed and farm supply store has changed locations multiple times and expanded in the 124 years since R.E. Dennard set up shop in Sadler, its focus has remained squarely in Texoma where it opened for business in 1890. While it has been over 80 years since the farm supply and feed business moved from Sadler to Whitesboro, the memories it has created across the region over the years remain.

WHITESBORO — Dennard’s Farm Supply has called Texoma home for well over a century. The feed and farm supply store has changed locations multiple times and expanded in the 124 years since R.E. Dennard set up shop in Sadler, its focus has remained squarely in Texoma where it opened for business in 1890. While it has been over 80 years since the farm supply and feed business moved from Sadler to Whitesboro, the memories it has created across the region over the years remain.


On Sunday, the Texas Historical Commission presented the business with a Texas Treasure Business Award, which was created in 2005 to recognize Texas businesses that have been in operation over 50 years. So far, only 160 of these awards have been given out across the state.


Neva Pinkston with the Whitesboro History Club wrote the nomination request as a part of the club’s 2013 project. Dennard’s was approved for the award in November, but had the awards ceremony delayed by the Christmas holiday season.


Tim Ferguson is the latest family member to run the business, while his son marks the fifth generation to work in the business. Tim recently took over the business after his father, Donny Ferguson, retired after 50 years of working in Dennards. If Tim has his way, he hopes for another five generations.


"We are pretty fortunate to be where we are," said Tim Ferguson. "In some places the economy just isn’t there."


In March of 1931, the business made the move from Sadler to Whitesboro, where it has remained in various incarnations since. The store remained a staple of the Whitesboro downtown scene for over 60 years, said Tim.


Tim Ferguson brags that the Dennard’s motto is: "If we don’t have it, you don’t need it," which largely comes from his father’s expansion of the business away from its simple farm supply roots to an all encompassing western-lifestyle store in the mid-1980’s after buying out a western wear store.


"My dad is a person who was never afraid to get out and try something new," said Tim Ferguson.


Moving away from its traditions of carrying just farm supplies, Dennard’s now stocks everything from animal feed, farm tools, and animal care products to western wear, a rustic dining table or a western-style bedroom set.


In 2006, the business moved to its current building on U.S. Highway 377. Despite it’s long existence in downtown, where it occupied five buildings including the old post office, the company had to move because downtown lacked the space needed to park and work with animal trailers and larger equipment, said Donny Ferguson. He said he debated moving away from the long-time headquarters for a long time before deciding on moving towards the highway.


"We didn’t have a choice," he said, citing the need for more parking.


When designing the current store, Donny was told that he needed to see the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Mo. After seeing the building in person, he was enthusiastic and recalls telling himself that, "I am going to build this building." The owners of the museum obliged, giving him the floor plans to the museum.


Both father and son believe that the key to the business thriving over a century is an eye for — and meeting — the needs of the community, hard work and a strong, dedicated team of employees. Tim said that some Dennard’s 45 employees, split between its three stores, have been with the company for nearly two decades.


Donny recalls days in decade’s past when the store would keep up to 80,000 chicks for sale to local farmers. The busiest day of the week came late on Saturday nights when the store would get a late-night rush as people came to buy groceries and supplies after the midnight movie in Whitesboro let out, said Donny Ferguson.


"Everything I can think of about this store has been fond," said Donny Ferguson. "I know we’ve had our ups and downs, but I can’t ask for a better life."