True Value's grand re-opening extends Boyle merchantile history
By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer
The Boyle family has been a key part of Bandera's retail history for decades. This weekend's grand re-opening of the Boyle's True Value is just another chapter in that business history.
According to "History of Bandera County Texas," James Boyle, who immigrated to America in 1892, arrived in Bandera in 1904. He bought a small grocery store from JW Storms and started Boyle's Store. He was joined by his brother, Michael, in 1907 and they opened the Boyle Brothers' Store on 11th Street.
The two were later joined by a third brother, Thomas. Thomas left Bandera for a time to operate a store in Crystal City, but later returned to operate Bandera Cash Store in the Davenport building on Main Street, next door to the OST.
In June of 1936, a fire destroyed that building and Thomas joined his brother Mike and son, Pat, in the M. Boyle Store.
In 1946, Thomas left the 11th Street store under the management of his sister Mary's descendants, the McGroartys, and opened a store on Main Street. Eventually Thomas' son, Johnny Boyle and his wife, Ople Stokes Boyle, bought out his dad's interest in the store.
With their astute business skills and plenty of hard work, they expanded to two stores, one a dry goods retailer and the other for groceries. To those were soon added a washateria, a fast food restaurant called Zeke's, and a more formal eatery called The Maverick.
In 1977, they expanded once again in the present True Value location with an 8,000 square foot grocery store.
Johnny and Ople had four children, Charlotte, Kathy, Johnny Boyle Jr., and Mike. John Jr. currently heads up Boyle's True Value, Just Ask Rental, Bandera Wine and Spirits and other business interests in the community.
Boyle is excited about bringing an expanded business presence to his hometown with the expansion of the True Value store. "Bandera has been good to my family," he said. "Every time we've made an investment in Bandera, Bandera has responded."
A big part of Boyle's business philosophy involves supporting the town where he grew up and urging other local business owners to do the same.
Boyle had moved the store from 706 Main Street to the present location on Thanksgiving weekend 1997. To compliment Boyle's Market, the shopping complex was remodeled and expanded to include Church's Chicken, Bandera Wine and Spirits and Bandera United Pharmacy.
More recently, Boyle has been busy for the last five years remodeling the entire complex again. "Stores get tired," said Boyle, "so you have to do something every five to seven years to revitalize them. In retail you can be pleased, but never satisfied.
"Two years ago we expanded and remodeled Bandera Wine and Spirits. In fact, it's been a fun five years, with the Wine and Spirits project, chartering the locally owned and managed Bandera First State Bank and now renovating the True Value hardware store." Boyle said.
The big weekend
Getting ready for this weekend's grand re-opening bash has been "10 weeks of working hard every day," said Boyle. "The staff has had to move every single item in the store more than once! Store manager Nick Phelps and the team members have done an excellent job of creating the best retail hardware store experience possible."
The remodel, spearheaded by contractors MJ Boyle, Contractor, and David Burger, Contractor, included demolishing a bathroom and breakroom in the center to open up the 21,000 square foot space.
The renovation is part of a special "Destination True Value" corporate program.
This weekend's activities will feature local dignitaries as well as representatives from True Value's headquarters in Chicago. The friendliest and most helpful staff in Bandera will be on hand to help shoppers find their way around the store. There will be plenty of specials and give-aways as well.
One of the specials includes five-gallon buckets given to the first 100 customers who can stuff them full of selected items and get 25 percent off. After the first 100, customers can buy the buckets for $2 and enjoy the same discount. The $2 will go to the Bulldog Booster Club. Boyle is also donating the hotdogs, sodas and water to the Bulldog Boosters who will be selling refreshments in the parking lot.
For more details about the weekend, see page 1A and the special advertising insert in this issue of the Courier.
In celebrating the re-opening, Boyle will be joined by mother Ople Boyle, wife Holly Hevenor Boyle, and sons, John and Milam, all proud Banderans. "I want to honor my parents in this celebration," said Boyle. "My mom and dad both had a retail background, and now I'm a third generation retailer. They gave me the best training in retail anyone could ask for."
Johnny's mother, Ople Stokes, was born and raised in Medina where her mother Maude, and son, BH Stokes, ran Stokes IGA food store. "I would ride the bread truck who serviced our food store in Bandera to Medina to visit and work in the store in Medina and then return a few days later to Bandera," said Johnny about his first experiences in retail. "I have many great memories of family and friends on the west end of Bandera county through the Medina store."
Boyle hopes Bandera County will see his store as a plus for the community. "This is the greatest place in the world to live," said Boyle. "We still have our character, our individualism, our quality of life. I want to try to maintain that."
Oh, and if you've been wondering about the sky blue paint used on the undersides of the complex's sidewalk overhangs, it's supposed to be a deterrent to nesting birds.
Pictured: Boyle Bro's Store on 11th Street was a first step to business success for an Irish immigrant family looking for a better life in America in the early 1900s.