Sta-Bilt Lumber and Hardware located at 13th and Mesquite Streets in Blanco will be closing its doors by the end of June. An institution in the community since 1971, the business will be greatly missed by contractors as well as average citizens who have depended on the store for everything from nuts and screws to footballs and pocket knives. “We carry more than 22,000 items in our inventory,” declared Bob Bindseil, owner and general manager. “Some low demand items we probably should have quit stocking long ago, but how can you tell your long-time neighbor that she’ll have to go into San Antonio to buy a pressure cooker seal?”
Sta-Bilt got its start building trusses for homes and businesses. Eventually the old “Uncle Plum McCullough house” was purchased and remodeled into a storefront. “You had to go down some stairs into a kind of basement in order to find the plumbing supplies,” said a business man from Johnson City. One of the cashiers, Annette Grimes, claimed that the ghost of old Ms. Perkins, who once lived in the house, still haunts the place. If anything was found to be out of place or some machine would mysteriously turn itself on, employees would just look at each other and say, “Ms. Perkins was here!”
“I’ve worked here for 17 years,” said Sharon Romero. “I used to have to check the heavy stuff into the yard. Back then we kept all the records by hand including all the orders and the inventory. We didn’t have computers.” Jim Meurer concurred. “I’ve been here for fifteen years. I used to go down those steps into the basement for screws and nails.” He went on to say, “We’ll be missed. We had a little of everything that people needed.” Customers say that Jim, himself, will be missed. They assert that he could direct a patron to the location of all 22,000 items in the store.
Betty Bindseil used to work as the secretary when the building of trusses was the heart of the business. Many employees came and went over the years. As teenagers, Kenneth, Dennis and Larry Moore, and Travis McFarlin all took their turns. Dennis remembers working for $1.60 an hour “forty years ago.” Percy Liesmann and Bobby Baker did the original field work, building and often installing trusses. Some neighbors were heard to complain about the early morning noise generated by the machines that were used to press the trusses together. Melba Moore, the closest neighbor, would tell people, “You just pay it no mind. Bob is a good man and he’s making an honest living.”
Bob Bindseil and his wife, Clara, are products of Blanco High School. Their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are the delight of their lives. “My father was Marvin Bindseil,” said Bob. “My grandfather was Edwin. My great-grandfather came from Germany and was one of the first settlers in the area. He ran a store and a dance hall at Twin Sisters. We have lots of relatives in New Braunfels.”
“I’m 70 years old,” said the elder Bindseil. “We tried to ride out the economy but it just got to be too much. I thought I had a buyer lined up to take over the operation because I felt I owed it to the community to try to keep this kind of business here. When that deal fell through we just didn’t have much of an alternative but to close down.”
The Johnson City store, operated by son, Bobby, closed for business the last of May. “We will keep selling off inventory at the Blanco store through most of June at considerable discounts depending on the prices we had to pay for each thing.” Mr. Bindseil went on to say, “I want to thank the community for all its support over the years. Now, I’ll just fade into the sunset. Actually, I would like to travel toward the west. There is something in me that wants to know what’s on the other side of that hill. I think I’ll go and see.”
Loyal customers, employees and business partners all attest to the hard work, the honesty and the integrity of the Bindseil family operation. And, yes, it will be missed.