Two brothers, as different as night and day, yet brothers just the same.
Neil and Brian Dudley are Comanche born, Comanche reared, and Comanche grown. Their roots in Comanche County grow strong and deep, all the way back into the 19th century with the arrival of their however many greats grandfather onto what was then the Texas frontier.
It was those roots and a shared love of their hometown that led Neil and Brian to think seriously about going into business together when the opportunity arose. Today, Neil, his wife, Stacy, Brian, and friends, Cody and Chrissy Lane of Hamilton, Texas, are the owners of Gore Bros Agri-Service in Comanche, Texas, a business steeped in Gore family tradition from the time it was established by Stacy’s grandfather, Joe Gore, and his brother, Bill, decades ago.
“Of course, we had the inside track in knowing that the business was going to be for sale,” Neil explained. “I knew it was a good business and, of course, Stacy did too. She also had a kindred reason for wanting to own Gore Bros.”
Neil and Stacy batted around the idea of buying the business for awhile before Neil called his brother to see if he would be interested in being one of his partners in the enterprise.
Brian Dudley is not the talker of the duo. My guess is that when they were babies, Neil never quit talking long enough to give Brian a chance to speak. Instead, Brian is an artist, an artisan, if you will, and at the time he received his brother’s phone call, Brian lived in Stephenville where he owned a custom leatherworks business.
“It didn’t take me long to say yes,” Brian said. “Even though I knew it would be a HUGE undertaking, I had been wanting a way to be back in Comanche, and this was a great opportunity to get here.”
Neil couldn’t stand it any longer. “Didn’t take you long to make up your mind? It took you TWO days!” Turning to me, Neil continued, “It took him two days to agree. When I say it didn’t take me long, I mean it took me about five seconds!” he laughed.
And therein is the secret to “the boys’” success. They make a great balancing act together although both admit to a little grumbling at times.
“We’re still speaking so it must be working,” Neil explained. “Brian usually just lets it pile up until he can’t take it anymore and then he tells me to shut up, which I probably need to hear more than I do,” he said, smiling at his younger brother.
“But that’s what makes us a team,” Brian answered when he could get a word in.
And then it was time to get serious because I really did want to understand the nuts and bolts of the business as well as the whys. Anyone with a vested interest in small town Texas knows that it can be tough to operate a business in a small market area, and I wanted to know exactly why it is that these two young men believe that they can do it.
First was the how because getting established in a business is terribly expensive, and both were quick to admit just that.
“We sat down and looked at what it was going to cost to buy the business and what the real market risk was. At the time, probably the biggest risk was the drought. We had to really think about whether a business like this could be healthy with cattle numbers going down. But then, there are a lot of other things going on here besides selling feed, and we believed that we could focus on those to help balance the risks that come with the cattle market.
“With the support of family and the Comanche National Bank, we were able to buy the business once we made up our minds that it was what we all wanted to do.”
And then I wanted to know why. Why can they make the business work? Why should people shop with them? To be very honest with you, I liked what I heard from both Neil and Brian, and that’s where those small town roots come in because both have their hands firmly on the three things that it takes to operate a very successful business in small town Texas: customer service, customer service, customer service.
“We’ll work hard for you. We’ll do everything we can to make sure our business is taking care of you, and that’s a promise.”
The Dudley brothers were also quick to tell me that they believe they provide the best customer service around and that their prices are competitive.
“We’re the familiar face that people are looking for when they shop. We know our customers by their first name, and if we don’t know you by name when you come in, you can bet that we will before you leave!”
The brothers went on to discuss ideas and goals too lengthy to list here, but I suppose it was the word integrity that really grabbed my attention when Neil said, “I want people to shop with us for a couple of reasons. One is that we do it right, we make it right, and you can count on that.”
The other is a little more complicated.
“If people don’t do something to support their local community and their local businesses, where will that community be, where will it go?”
Of course, the boys believe in shopping local for all kinds of reasons.
They’ve all grown up in Comanche County, and the Dudleys, the Gores, and the Lanes are old family names, going back into the 1800s in this county. They want to live here, and they want their children to be able to live here.
“We want our kids to be able to say fifty years from now that they are running a business their granddads started. It may not be a feed store then, but we want it to be a store the community needs at that time.”
And we touched on this earlier, but just what can you find when you shop at Gore Bros?
Lawn and garden
Mens workboots, work clothes
And ladies, don’t let the idea of a feed store intimidate you!
Gores has a list of items that we here at United know will interest you as well as fitting rooms so you can make sure everything is just right. Plus, Amanda, Donna, and Stacy can help you find just what you’re looking for:
Bacon, sausage, ham, steaks
Hunting clothes and dancing clothes…all cute!
Jeans, boots, shirts, dresses, jewelry, kids clothes….
“Clothes for earning the money to go to town and clothes for going to town…”
“We encourage anyone in our generation or in any generation, for that matter, to come to try to get back home if you want that. Running a family business isn’t always easy, but you’ll find something that you never knew was there.”
And just as an aside, I have to tell you my own rather embarrassing story, embarrassing because I am the voice of shopping at home; however, this past Christmas when my granddaughter wanted a particular type of fringed boots, it never occurred to me that I could get them locally.
Rickey and I spent two days and a lot of shoe leather going from store to store to store in Fort Worth. Sales people in every single place we stopped told us that everyone was looking for the exact same boots and that no one had any idea where to get them…and I know you already hear the ending to my story coming…
You guessed it! Presley did get her boots for Christmas, and they were purchased in Comanche, Texas at Gore Bros. Agri-Service, and was my face red!!This is paid advertising. If you would like to see your business featured on texansunited.com, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We get you noticed!