“We have no ‘necessities’,” says Meagan Allgood proprietor of the neighborhood western and cowboy mercantile: Allgood Custom Leather Shop located in Creston, CA. “Yet, our community has kept us in business.”
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Meagan is referring to surviving the nationwide business shutdown. She, like others businesses, was forced to shift business practices to stay afloat. Today, the future looks brighter for Allgood Custom Leather shop which she runs alongside her husband, Matt Allgood.
Meagan Indeed Offers a Necessity
Upon visiting Meagan and her western specialty goods store one walks away knowing that what she offers is indeed a necessity. She offers neighborly hospitality, and top-drawer personal service. Everyone who walks into her store receives a personal greeting. She knows many of her customers by name. Although her clientele has adjusted to “appointment only” shopping, their loyalty to her and the store has not wavered. She knows her customers and knows the western merchandise world. These are key ingredients for a loyal following.
Merchandise for the Authentic Western Lifestyle
Allgood Custom Leather products cater to the authentic western lifestyle. You’ll find a variety of merchandise from locally-made olive oil and specialty soaps to coffee cups, shirts and baseball hats sporting name of her favorite town, Creston, on them. Western shirts for ladies and gentlemen, plus cowboy hats and western motif purses don each side, and the middle of the store. Custom western jewelry, uniquely made by a local silversmith, sparkles under the glass display counter.
Her husband Matt makes custom leather goods necessary for the cowboy life: chaps, headstalls, belts, saddles and saddlebags, plus personal items like ladies’ purses and men’s wallets. These items are displayed in the intimate back room of the quaint store lining Webster Street in downtown Creston. The overall impression one gets is reminiscent of the mercantile store in the Little House on the Prairie series. Personally, Meagan has a family connection to the history of this well-established building.
Serving the Western Community in Creston, CA
“I’m the 5th Generation of my family to live in Creston,” exclaimed Meagan. “This was once my great grandparent’s store.” Matt has been making custom leather pieces since 1996 and continued this profession upon moving to the area in 2006. In addition, he works at V6 Ranch. Meagan brings with her a knowledge of the western clothing world as a Cinch Jeans rep. They pool their expertise together to make a weekend job for themselves operating Allgood Custom Leather shop.
They brought their idea to the building’s owners, because of its history with Meagan’s family. Now they rent the space for their shop. “We want this to be our retirement job and operate this store full-time,” explains Meagan of their vision for the store. One thing she has found is many of her social media followers, with new-found time on their hands, have actually made it out to Creston and discovered this special nook of SLO County.
Pivoting During Shutdown
“We stayed closed most of March,” says Meagan. “While our regular customers messaged us and we would open the store for them by appointment.” In April Meagan started her own version of a Home-shopping Network show by doing an “Allgood Monday” Facebook Live where she would highlight particular pieces in the store and have customers message her their orders. Meagan would then ship out the mechandise.
If I Don’t Do Anything, I am Guaranteed Nothing
These “Allgood Monday” sessions have expanded business for them in a direction they would not have gone, but for the shutdown. Meagan says of the venture, “If I don’t do anything, I am guaranteed nothing.” That was her mantra going into the Facebook lives and she has come out with something she’ll continue with even after they get the full green light to go back to business-as-usual. “My husband joked, we had great careers two months ago!” exclaimed Meagan as they re-imagine their future.
In addition, they are working on a website to display and sell their goods through. June is the anticipated time for the website to be up and running. A website has been a future plan and now they realize it really must happen now. The Facebook lives has given them on-line exposure and pushed them into increased shipping services.
Soft Opening for Allgood Custom Leather
Allgood Custom Leather Shop shares the two-block long downtown Creston Street, Webster Drive, with two other notable Creston businesses: The Loading Chute and Longbranch Saloon. The two food service businesses have been offering to-go orders through the shutdown. However, together all three business have opened for weekend curbside service. This has drawn a loyal local following. A weekend tailgate culture emerges along the main street around lunch time and through the afternoon on the weekends. As the light turns green in SLO County for retail shops, she’ll graciously welcome her in-store visitors. In addition, the Creston Classic Rodeo grounds are right next door to the long-established building that Allgood Custom Leather store calls home.
Big Events for a Small Town
The annual Creston Classic Rodeo and the “not-so-secret” Creston Christmas Lights parade are the two major events of the year which pull in customers and friends to Creston. These friends and visitors come from the broader cowboy and non-cowboy community. Downtown Creston is alive with activity during these events. Longbranch Saloon owners, who now own the Rodeo grounds, have ideas to create more events throughout the year.
State of the Current Business Vision
For the time being, the Creston community has the September Rodeo to look forward to. The town of Creston is planning on a big celebration at this year’s Classic Rodeo. “We’ll have such a celebration!” exclaims Meagan as she looks forward to seeing the shutdown behind them and being able to warmly welcome her customers with a hug again – a necessity we all need. “I love where I live and the community and buyers I serve,” says Meagan. “Our reach has expanded through this shutdown in a way we wouldn’t have explored without the necessity of it.”
Allgood Custom Leather hours are currently by appointment. Except on weekends you can now meet Meagan at the store: Friday 11:00 – 6:00, Saturday 9:00-2:00 and Sunday 9:00 to noon. New hours and days will be determined while navigating the full re-opening of business.
Creston, California is not hard to get to. You’ll find the down-home western hospitality off Highway 41. After about a 15-minute drive east from Atascadero off the 101 freeway, turn right onto Webster Road. The downtown Creston business lane occupies both sides of Webster Road (Hwy 229). It runs for about two blocks before the road forks in three directions. Be sure to make Creston a necessary stop in your travel plans.
This story is part of a series of local horse business spotlights to help get business galloping again as we move forward from the shutdown. Support our local business to get them galloping again!
Photo credit: Sharon Jantzen Photos, unless otherwise noted
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