Guernsey Gazette | drubeHome opens third store in Wyoming
CORN – drubeHome made a move that lasted around 100 feet, but in the process, added years and miles to their incredible journey.
drubeHome, owned by Thane (56) and Keri Ashenhurst (51), has been the twin hardware / home store giant in Wheatland for years. They recently bought the old Wells Fargo Bank building in downtown Wheatland and started to organize themselves by organizing things in the new building and turning it from a bank into something of a general store.
“Before 1920, Drubes (pronounced ‘droo-bees’) operated in this town,” Ashenhurst said. “My brother bought the business in 1989. In the 1970s three different owners struggled. At the time, it was a welding / machine shop.
Ashenhurst said she had a regional audience as a machine shop and was well known for making the 1930s self-propelled hay stacking machine. The Ashenhursts live in this original building. from 16th Street for 30 years. The addition of the home store or the ‘softer side of things’ as Keri Drube calls it opened much later in November 2019, opposite the current location.
From humble beginnings, the Ashenhursts have built a strong business and a strong connection to the communities they serve.
“We had less than nothing when we started,” he said. “My brother got paralyzed and we had to take over this welding shop in 1991. He just stopped showing up and we started doing it.
With a background in business and a bit of breeding experience … and no serious welding or machine shop expertise, the old adage of greatness imposed on him has been placed on his shoulders.
“People would give Thane a part and want the job done,” she said. “Thane didn’t know how to do anything other than a little welding. People would give him a part and ask him if he could fix it, and he would say, “Sure, can you come back for a bit? To which they would reply, ‘No, I’m just going to wait here for that.’ When we made them leave and return, he was quick to find a way to fix it.
With a strong Christian background from both Thane and Keri, their faith and trust in God has been the key to their business and their lives, they said. They also added to that faith a lot of long hours, hard work, and a willingness to get their hands dirty in something they both knew very little about. It took seven years before they started deleveraging.
“I started out wanting to be a breeder and a farmer,” he said. “Getting into a machine shop and then into retail was something I never expected.”
As for adding household items to the hardware store, that idea came from Keri who said she saw husbands walking into the hardware store and their wives patiently waiting in the car. It was his mission to get them to buy something that might interest them.
“We started to get the idea of doing something more with household items and consumer goods,” he said. “We lost these ShopKos in all these small towns. They went bankrupt and they had over 300 stores across the country. We lost the ShopKo in Newcastle where we have another store (Frontier Home Ranch & Supply) which is similar to Drube Supply, only the building is much bigger and up there we have a hardware store and also a home store under one. same roof. We also have CARQUEST Auto Parts in this same structure.
The Ashenhursts who rented the building on the north side of Ninth Street knew it was not a permanent location and kept their eyes peeled and patiently awaited what would be the perfect location for their softer side of things.
“Keri looked out the window when she saw it was for sale and told me she wanted it,” he said. “I said, ‘Like for Christmas? To which she replied “yes, it will work”. So that’s what she got for Christmas, but the unveiling didn’t take place until July 17.
According to the Ashenhursts, it has been a “crazy year”.
“The project we did in Newcastle was two or maybe three times bigger than this project,” he said. “It was a big project. It took us five months up there. And COVID has complicated these two projects because the companies did not send the help they promised when we embarked on these projects. Due to COVID, their people couldn’t travel, so we ended up having to do the work ourselves with our people. “
Keri Ashenhurst has written all over the new Wheatland store and she has managed to use every square inch of space. Tackling two monumental projects after the age of 50, they said, was not intimidating, but tiring.
“We have done renovations over the years,” he said. “And here it was tiring with those two projects back to back and of course now maintaining them both.” We had family who came to help us and we couldn’t have done it without them.
Asked about the upcoming mission, the couple smiled and considered before responding.
“We only do what people need,” she said. “Everything the communities need. “
“The opportunities have just presented themselves and we have taken advantage of them,” he said. “If opportunities arise in the future, we can seize them even though I’m not sure what the future holds. We are now configured with our new software and the training we have received in recent years allows us to manage multiple stores. Who knows, maybe more stores, which is new to Keri. “
Both Ashenhursts have their educational roots in business, Thane with a business degree from Oral Roberts University (1988) and Keri (business education) from Chadron State College where she said she wanted to go into business but that her parents wanted her to be a teacher. . The Thanes married in 1989 and Keri put her graduation on hold and has since gone back to school and majored in psychology in addition to her major in business. She still takes care of all the accounting for their businesses. She also has the main contribution in all things on the softer side and the home side, which is what drubeHome is all about. From selling televisions and laundry aids to trendy signs and old-fashioned Hank sodas. Suddenly everything is under one roof.
“We go to the buying markets and have different contacts all over the country,” she said. “We’re open and we’re happy with it, but that will change and evolve into an old general store that has everything you need. Thane is extra not to be a shop as we already have a lot of them in town and this shopping area is well covered but we provide things you need like towels, sheets and blankets. Or shoes for your kids or maybe a soccer ball. When Shopko moved, you couldn’t get these things in town. And when we move all of our clothes from the hardware store, it will give us a chance to expand into sporting goods, camping, and fishing.
The Ashenhursts work well with the rest of the inner city community and as business leaders they try to ensure that their investment in the retail business is not wasted on something that another business is in. local could be invested.
They grew up with a heart for ministry having had experience in missionary work and service. Their ministry to their communities has been exemplary and their business and way of life are their chair.
“When I said earlier that I was not afraid, I would say that there are definitely opportunities to be afraid,” he said. “Even after we’ve been doing this for 30 years. We have seen God come to grips with us and we discuss it over and over again, He has always taken care of us. He always found a solution.