Jul 21, 2022 - Business

Step back in time at Callahan's General Store

The interior of Callahan's General Store. Photo: Nicole Cobler/Axios

A friend recently recommended that I stop by Callahan's General Store store for a straw hat at a decent price.

  • Yes, I'm late to the party, but I'm passing along this Austin gem to those of you who missed it, too.

Why it matters: Callahan's, which opened in 1978, is a Central Texas staple and touts itself as Austin's only true general store.

What they're saying: Charley Wilson, the store's CEO and general manager, told Axios a lot has changed since almost 45 years ago, when Central Texas farmers would come to Callahan's to pick up supplies. Before that, the site was home to a cattle auction barn, feed mill and hardware store.

  • "It doesn't seem like 45 years is a long time, but when you start talking about three to four generations of people coming into our store, doing business with us, it is a good, long time," Wilson said.
Charley Wilson, CEO and general manager of Callahan's General Store, holds Junior the rooster. Photo: Nicole Cobler/Axios
  • Wilson's grandparents Earl and Lucy Callahan founded the store, and three generations of the family have managed it.
  • Customers regularly introduce themselves to Wilson to tell him how important the general store has been to their family.

Go when: You need, well, anything. The store sells kitchen items, gifts, snacks, pet food, boots and live animals, including chicks, guineas, ducks and turkeys.

  • Of note: Wilson estimates that they sell "tens of thousands" of baby chicks every year, and sales ramped up as backyard chickens became popular amid the pandemic.
  • I didn't buy the straw hat, but I picked up a grapefruit knife, which I haven't seen since my childhood, when I would kindly ask my parents to "pass the gnife."
  • I also snagged a mug, a cheesecloth and a fishing hat — all for $40.

Address: 501 S. U.S. 183

Hours: 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday

Pro tip: Check their Facebook page to see when you can catch live music in the store.


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