Storied Local Establishments In Abilene
Long standing local businesses are a gift in their communities. You get personalized service from someone who is not only an expert at what they do, but someone who knows you, and considers you not just a customer but a friend. And those local business owners are there for you after the sale....every time.
Abilene has it's share of these storied local establishments, although we've lost quite a few over the years due to major retail chains locating here, economic conditions, or just the changing times making certain products and services obsolete. Plus, some businesses outlive their owners, and some do not.
There are a few businesses in Abilene that have stood the test of time and continue to play a vital role when you're shopping, dining, or using services at the local level.
KRBC has been associated with television in Abilene since day one. It was the first television station to broadcast in our fair city, following the first Abilene radio station, also with those KRBC call letters. KRBC began broadcasting on August 30th 1953 under the ownership of the Ackers family. For decades KRBC Radio and KRBC TV shared the building at South 14th and Pioneer. The television employees and radio employees didn't see each other much due to the building layout. The staffs were separated by the lobby area, which not only directed traffic, but physically separated the two distinct wings of the building. Abilene's first radio and TV broadcasters blazed a trail for all that followed If you're an Abilene native, and old enough, you can probably remember broadcasters such as Larry Fitzgerald on the TV side, and Downing Bolls (now an Abilene judge) on the radio side. Downing, of course, also crossed over into KRBC television as lead anchor for a long stint before assuming his current position in the Abilene judicial system.
Many towns the size of Abilene don't have a locally owned hardware store. The advent of national, big box stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot in towns our size and larger tend to divert traffic away from the smaller local stores. In smaller cities, WalMart can displace a local hardware outlet in short order. Bible Hardware has operated at its downtown location at 333 Walnut for over 65 years. Over that span, the stock has evolved, but been maintained with 'new old stock' hardware and plumbing items remaining in inventory. That's just one of the things that makes Bible popular. In fact, Bible Hardware is unique in a number of ways that make it downright special to Abilenians and residents around the Big Country. Some of that 'special' is in the hometown feel of the place. You're greeted with a smile and immediately know you are welcome and appreciated when you walk in the door. Think about it and be honest. How many places these days can you actually get that kind of sincere welcome. And Bible Hardware, due to its longevity, also has products that you can't find anywhere else. If you're looking for an odd plumbing fixture or part for an older house, Bible is likely to have it. Bible Hardware is also a 'mecca' for getting keys made. You seldom can go in there with a key to duplicate, and not be a couple of people back in line. They make keys cheaper than anybody in town, and I've never had to return one because it wouldn't work. There really is a lot that's special about Bible Hardware. Most of all is that friendly welcome at the door that makes you feel at home. Bible Hardware doesn't have a website. But they are glad to help you in person or on the phone at 673-8301.
Towne Crier Steakhouse
The Towne Crier Steakhouse was open for business in February of 1966 at its current location, 818 East Highway 80. One of the coolest things about Towne Crier is that little has changed outside or inside. The English 'mock' Tudor decor is intact on the exterior of the building and inside with all of the crests displayed on the walls. The food has remained consistently good through the years too! Towne Crier has an excellent chicken fried steak, some of the best homemade melt-in-your-mouth hot rolls you'll ever enjoy, and one of the best salad bars in the Big Country. It's like stepping back in time when you go through the doors. And the service is friendly and very attentive. The old wall menu that has push buttons to make your selections is still there, although you don't push the buttons to order any more. They take your order at the counter. Long time owner Dwight Aston is in the restaurant just about all the time, and he runs a tight ship. In spite of Towne Crier's old fashioned approach to friendly hometown service and cooking, the restaurant has a good website, where you can read about the history of the place and check the menu too. When it first opened, you could get a steak for $1.39. Check out the website at TowneCrierSteakhouse.com.
Dixie Pig Restaurant
The Dixie Pig has more history than any restaurant in Abilene. It's been in business on Butternut since the 1930s, and it also has the distinction of being Abilene's only classic diner. Right on the menu they boast 'Abilene's Oldest Restaurant' and tout 'over 70 years' of serving Abilenians. I love the layout of a diner, with the long serving bar and swivel stools. Dixie Pig is most popular for breakfast. And they serve up the classics. Fried eggs, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, top notch omelets, and of course strong black coffee. And if you want a local flavor, stop in for breakfast and chat with the 'regulars'. You'll find the essence of Abilene and the Big Country from the staff to the frequent patrons. Plus you can still get the vibe of a Route 66 diner at the Dixie Pig, 1403 Butternut.