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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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An iconic Pleasanton retailer calling it quits

Uploaded: May 20, 2021
When the letter from Christesen’s Western Wear arrived addressed to my late mother, my curiosity was piqued.
I opened it to learn that the story will have its going out-of-business sale starting formally next week. The letter was an invite to the sale for a week before the advertising hits. I was unable to reach the owner, who also operates Baughman’s in Livermore that has an even longer history than Christesen’s. It was also striking how far back their records go. My mother passed in 1993 and, to my knowledge, our only season of doing business with Christesen’s was when we were in 4-H in the 1960s. Yes, I know I’m dating myself big time.
I thought I’d have a scoop today until I drove down Main Street and saw the huge orange signs covering the windows at 633 Main Street proclaiming the store closing clearance sale. It’s actually amazing that the store, that handles western wear, tack and similar items, has survived as long as it did. I suspect the fairgrounds trainers and jockeys provided a steady source of business, but the rest of the western environment in Pleasanton has faded as the city evolved from a tiny town to a typical suburb to a job center and center of innovation.
It’s been more of a transformation than neighboring Livermore has undergone. Livermore has maintained its Old West culture even as it has added an increasingly vibrant business community and a burgeoning wine country. For those looking for western goods moving forward, Baughman’s is planned to remain open so the once-a-year cowboys can pick up a hat and boots for the annual rodeo once its returns next year and the true cowboy will have a source of clothing and gear.
The closure of Christesen’s marks the loss of another iconic local business in the Livermore Valley. Dom’s Outdoor Outfitters on First Street closed earlier this year, ending 51 years of retailing in downtown Livermore. The pandemic shutdown as well as key changes in how manufacturers are taking their goods direct to consumers and cutting out the retailers led to the Dom’s decision.
It was also notable to read about the mixed reactions of downtown Pleasanton retailers to the Friday to Sunday closure of Main Street that allows restaurants and retailers to serve from the sidewalk and the street. Restaurants obviously love it as well as some retailers.
For others, think the Wine Steward, believe they’re losing customers who are not interested in carrying a case of wine for a few blocks to their car instead of pulling up to the door for trunk delivery. The hardware store owner echoed that opinion as did a bridal shop owner who cited the parking challenge for her weekend customers when she does most of her business.
Just how city staff members and the Pleasanton Downtown Association leadership navigate this challenge, particularly after June 15 when the state is supposed to completely reopen, will be interesting to watch.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Michael Austin , a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on May 20, 2021 at 9:51 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I have purchased my wranglers here for 25 years.

Posted by Lahommed, a resident of Dublin,
on May 20, 2021 at 1:28 pm

Lahommed is a registered user.

America.....A land of short memories! We forget the important stuff. Look at how are politicians put illegals before veterans. Historic sports venues are torn down despite the history created in them by teams and players throughout the years. Our cities which maybe once a year pays tribute to their own history. Pleasanton is changing its life but it has no soul. years ago it was a small town with soul and heart today like most cities it is so focused on growth and greed and money we forget where we came from and pay no that much attention to where we are going. An Iconic retailer leaves Pleasanton a small story in print and on the net but huge in historic value and what it meant to be a valued retailer in a city that once gave a damn about its resident and retailers. Them days are gone....Oh they could return if only our society would take an interest in History once again!

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on May 20, 2021 at 3:32 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Very sad news.

We shopped there for our oldest daughter for years while she was riding horses from the age of 5 all the way until 18. She even worked there while in high school so she could support her own horse.

Pleasanton is changing...and not all for the good.


Posted by Gail, a resident of Bonde Ranch,
on May 21, 2021 at 7:59 am

Gail is a registered user.

Dave, greetings to you and BettyAnn. My maiden name is Anderson. I was in 4H when your mom and at least one of your sisters were leaders. You mother coached me in my first Picnic Day presentation. She also got us interested in YFU, so after I graduated from Amador in 1975, I went to Switzerland. I am still in contact with that family.
Although I live in Fremont now, I still come to Pleasanton periodically to check on my late parents' home. Walking down Main and seeing Christianson's always fills me with nostalgia. I guess I should go in once more to take in the lovely smell of leather before it's gone!

All the best,


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