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Mesquite Time

Mesquite Time is another one of Santa Anna's handcrafted wood shops.

Owner Jerry Ellis, began making and selling his mesquite wood items several years ago and worked his way into the old Santa Anna Lumber buildings.

Jerry along with his daughter, Jamie Strauss, have been keeping the shop open and staying busy with cutting, carving, sanding, and finishing their beautiful wood crafted items including clocks, furniture, tables, mantles, jewelry boxes, lamps, and shades. They also work with other woods, do custom orders, and have recently added laser etched wood pieces to their growing list of work.

Jerry works on a project

Jerry and Jamie have also had J. J. Redmon as an apprentice this last Summer.

J J and Jamie sand in the cool shade out back

Jerry has a Master's Degree in Physics from Sam Houston State University, worked for Schlumberger for several years on the Gulf Coast, before returning to Santa Anna as the manager of Coleman County Broadcasting, a year of teaching at Santa Anna High School, and Howard Payne University, and also farms and ranches around his homeplace near Trickham. Jerry's wife Cathy is the Postmaster at Rockwood and they are members of the Methodist Church in Santa Anna. Their oldest daughter Jamie is an Angelo State University graduate with a degree in marketing. She and her husband Brian Strauss make their home in Santa Anna with their son Parker.

Jerry and Cathy also have a son, Bryce who lives in Lubbock with his wife Jamie and there two sons. Jerry and Cathy's youngest daughter, Alicia, lives in Bedford and works for Oncor.

Bathroom Sink Sink and Mirror
Mantles Chest with cedar lining
Lamp, clock, table, and metal art Lamps, clocks, tables, spoons
Laser etched wall plaques, bowls, and crosses Candle holders
Table and chair dining sets Bowls, spoons, and pens
Raw mesquite slabs Pecan slabs
Unfinished projects Jerry shows off a bench project

Mesquite Time
Jerry L. Ellis
104 N Lee
Santa Anna, TX 76878
325-348-3016 or 325-348-3300

Cool Creek Outfitters

Editor's Note: Cool Creek Outfitters is now closed but several of their items are still available at That Santa Anna Store and Leatherworks on Wallis Avenue in Santa Anna

One of Santa Anna's newest business's is Cool Creek Outfitters which opened a few weeks ago and is located at 710 Wallis Avenue in the old WTU building and is owned and operated by Kyra Neff. Kyra has owned That Santa Anna Store and Leatherworks since April and her Brandi, and Stephanie will be welcoming everyone as they have "Something for Everyone".

Billed as "Coleman County's No. 1 Place for All Hunting Gear", Cool Creek Outfitters features hunting apparel by Filson, Boyt, Bob Allen, Gary Neese, and Gameguard.

They are also selling hunting and fishing licenses, ammunition, Moore Maker Knives, wildlife calls, Leica, and Surefire products. They also have quite a selection of gift items, scented candles, home decor, and children's toys. They take special orders and if they don't have what you are looking for they will do their best to get it for you.

Store hours for all the stores is pretty much 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday to Thursdays and 6 PM or later on Fridays and Saturdays. Be sure and go by and see Kyra and the gals at Cool Creek Outfitters or give them a call at 325-348-3169 and tell them sent ya!

3 C Rustic Furniture and Antique Lumber Custom Flooring

One of Santa Anna's new business's is 3CRustic Furniture and Antique Lumber Custom Flooring located in the old Santa Anna Coop Gin which is now owned by Mike and Melissa Calaway of Bangs. I met two of the C's, Mike and his daughter Macenzie, back in October. Macenzie is in the Third Grade in Bangs and Melissa teaches Fourth Grade at Bangs. Mike's Dad, Robert Calaway, sometimes hangs around to keep Mike company. I stopped by late one Saturday when they were trying to close up. I held off on running this because I wanted to get back by and take some photos of them working and visit with them more about their business but I just don't seem to be able to get by and see them during the week.

Mark is one of the nicest guys I have ever met and he really likes to visit about his business. Macenzie is a real cutie but sort of quiet.. I think she was ready to get home that day.

Mark and his Dad have been tearing down old cotton gins and barns for quite a while to get some of the lumber they have. But thankfully they have chose to preserve the Santa Anna Coop Gin and use it as a location for their furniture and flooring business. In addition to furniture and flooring they make custom mantle pieces and do milling for the public. They have been removing the old ginning equipment over the last several months to make room for their equipment and to store their salvaged and custom milled wood. They have a portable saw mill that they have set up next to the gin and since these photos they have finished a covered porch on the front of the gin.

The kind of craftsmanship and Mike's love of his work would make any of his creations a family heirloom. I will eventually get by to see them again but in the mean time you go on ahead and go and tell them sent ya!

Portable Saw Mill Mill sits next to the gin
Beautiful end cut wood flooring and standard cuts
Double Rocker Macenzie demos a rocker
Fire Place Mantles Old ginning equipment removed

Coleman County Woodshop

One of Santa Anna's most interesting downtown businesses is Gary Patterson's Coleman County Woodshop. Inside you will find nothing but the very raw makings of some of the best built custom cabinets and wood furniture around. By raw I mean there is lots of sawdust and lumber everywhere.

I have known Mr. Patterson, Gary, for many years.. as long as I was in the service station business he and his Mom, Dessa Patterson, were two of my most faithful customers. Mr. Patterson was still building custom homes back then. He and his #1 sidekick and also my classmate and friend, Bill Smith, have worked together for the last 20 or so years building homes and cabinets.

A few years ago Mr. Patterson decided to settle down a little and he bought the old rundown Bailey Lumber and Hardware building. He took on quite a job as the old building had been abandoned for several years and developed quite a few holes in the roof. About the same time the Reece brothers, Rick and Ron, started working there to finish out the woodshop team.

Since then they have concentrated on making some of the best built custom wood cabinets and made to order wood furniture that you can find anywhere.

I have spent part of the last three Saturdays visiting with Mr. Patterson and Bill and I very muched enjoyed it and wish I could go by more often. They had started a new cabinet project and wanted me to see some finished product over time. These few pictures can in no way show the craftsmanship that goes into a Coleman County Woodshop project.

I hope that you get to go by and see some of the Coleman County Woodshop quality built custom cabinets and made to order furniture and tell them that sent ya!

Bill and Gary talk it over, "What's for lunch?"

Coleman County Woodshop is known for the best custom wood cabinets around and this craftsman is one of the reasons.

It all starts with the cabinet shell And then the doors
And then the drawers All from raw lumber
Below counters And above counters
Fancy corners with slots and Susans
Brace it up for Final glue
Final coat in the spray room Final dry by the heater
Tall corner cabinet Same cabinet one week later
Bed Cedar Chest
Lamp Swing

Simmons Feed and Seed

Editor's Note: Simmons Feed and Seed is now closed.

Simmons' Feed and Seed is owned and operated by Barbara Simmons and her son and my friend Mike Simmons. I have known Mike every since the sixth grade. I am not exactly sure when they moved here but it was not too long before or after we moved here back in the Summer of 1975.

Mike always had cool stories to tell because they used to live in Trinidad/Tobago for a while before he moved here. He always kind of entertained our class a lot in school. He liked to do Steve Martin impressions and I guess you could say he was our class clown.. in a good way.

I really did not know Mrs. Simmons, other than as Mike's Mom, until the last 15 or so years of doing business with her at the store. I can tell you that she is absolutely one of the nicest ladies I have ever known.. and probably one of the hardest working too! I just love the accent that she still has even after the years of living here.

Simmons Feed and Seed started out when Earl Simmons took over what was Longhorn Feed at what is now the Masonic Lodge. I believe Mr. Simmons had worked for the owners of the store for a while before he bought it. I remember a time or two helping them unload feed trucks when we were in High School. I am not sure exactly when they moved to the current location at what used to be Hosch Furniture but they have been there for most of the twenty or so years they have been in business.

Mrs. Simmons took over the business when Mr. Simmons passed away in the 80's and Mike moved back to help her in 1987. Mrs. Simmons' other children, Celeste, Chris, and Becky have also helped out through the years too. She is especially proud of them and you can really tell by how here eyes light up as she tells about them.

Celeste, the oldest, is working for the Wyoming Department of Transportation in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She worked for a few years at the Texas Department of Transportation in the Brownwood office. Chris and Becky, along with her husband Marty Watts, son of the A.L.Watts of Santa Anna, all graduated from Texas A&M on Mother's Day in 1997. What a great Mother's Day it must have been for a mom that has been so dedicated to her children. I am pretty sure that Celeste is an Aggie too. Marty was commissioned into the Army for a while and he and Becky, and their two children are now living in Krum where she is a teacher and Marty is now working in construction. Chris is a high school basketball coach and teacher in Mineral Wells. It is kind of ironic that Chris is a teacher because it seems like I remember him running away from school one time when he was in Kindergarten. He probably didn't want to take a nap or eat his snack, or something like that! All of the Simmons children graduated from Santa Anna High School and were always academic, athletic, and all around good kids.

Mike had attended some college at Tarleton before moving back to Santa Anna to help his Mom. He has recently gone through a similar time that I did when I was in the service station business and started back to school at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood studying Machining Technology. Mike's wife, Keribeth, works at TSTC. Hang in there Mike we are going to finish one of these days!

I caught Mike at the store last Saturday and we got to visit for a while and then he really got busy. While he was working his butt off, not that it was hurting him any, I wandered around, got in the way, and took a few pictures.

Simmons' Feed and Seed has become known for their pottery selection.

Some with Texas Lone Stars Churns and Urns
Some with stripes Some with horse and animal themes
And of course some with flowers And some with fruit and farm animals
And some with just Lone Stars Lawn, Garden, and Animal Supplies
Metal Welding and Cutting Supplies
And of course feed And Mike will even load it for ya!
Pocket knifes Tractor Oils.. and maybe even a well fed cat!

Santa Anna Grocery

The importance of having a grocery store in a town is key to the town's continued growth and survival and I am not talking about an "inconvenience" store or one that sells gas and all, but one that has fresh produce and a meat market.. you know, a real grocery store.

I started to work at H&H Food Mart when I was in junior high school as a sacker and stocker. Stanley and Eddie Hartman owned the store that was located downtown on the main street at the time. The building was later bought by Clint Day for expanding the Western Auto Store and is now part of the Quilter's Patch. My Mom, Pat Wright, worked there too in the meat market and as a checker also, along with my future Grandmother In-Law, Maggie Robinett who was a checker there for many years. I sure miss the smell of chili and barbeque that Stanley used to cook in the market.. the aroma would fill the store. Later they moved to the old Piggly Wiggly, last owned by the late Billy Joe Harvey, which is the current location of Santa Anna Grocery. The Hartmans later sold to another good grocery family in this area. Donnie and Barbara Findley, owners Bangs Thrift Mart in Bangs. The Findleys struggled with running two locations for a couple of years and sold the Santa Anna location to the Michons of Santa Anna who struggled with keeping a small town business running and later closed the doors completely. The business remained empty for a few years until the current owners opened it up again and started pretty much from scratch.

When I was in the service station business here in Santa Anna I used to say, "I'll get out of the service station business when I have to sell groceries to keep the doors open.." If I had of, I might still be in business here but I think there will be a day, and it may already be here, when people don't know what a service station is or was. I only know of a couple left: Stephen's Texaco (now Shell and Subway) in Bangs and Miller's Citgo in Goldthwaite and none in Coleman County since Dobbin's Fina closed in Coleman.

Over the last ten years or so I have been in the grocery business in one way or another. Working for Pepsi and Dr Pepper in Brownwood as a route driver and supervisor and later as an assistant manager at the Shoppin' Baskit in Coleman, so I have been through the front and back doors of pretty much every grocery store in an 11 county area. The owner of the Shoppin' Baskit in Coleman and Ballinger, Dennis Stroebel, started out I believe at the old Piggly Wiggly in Brownwood as a sacker and stocker and worked his way to what he has now. I consider him a friend and he is probably the hardest working man I have ever known and he takes care of customers like nobody I have ever seen. I am sure I will get an arm twistin' from Dennis over this because he wants the business, but we really need a grocery store here in Santa Anna.

Well enough about all this stuff about me, lets talk about Santa Anna Grocery!

I can tell you that Vic and Vic Kysor Jr. do things right! In addition to having a fully stocked grocery store they have fresh produce, a full service meat market with cut to order meat, deli meats, and cheeses, made to order sub sandwiches and a full service bakery including donuts, pastries, pies, cakes, and made to order cakes for birthdays and special occasions and even movie rentals and beer. The Kysors were in the grocery business for 15 years in Florence, Texas and October First they will have been in Santa Anna for three years. Happy Third Anniversary guys and we are glad you are now Santa Anna Folks!

Vic Jr (aka Lil Vic) can be seen scootin around town and is a member of the Santa Anna Economic Development Board, Santa Anna Chamber of Commerce, and the Santa Anna Volunteer Fire Department along with Martin Petroff (aka the meat market man and a darn good cook too!). Both are pictured below working in their familiar territory behind the meat counter.

Checker, Diana Wells, checks out hard workin' trail ridin' Santa Anna Chamber of Commerce President Wanda Campbell (pictured below).
Other friendly employees of the store are Marilyn Ferrara, Tammy Williams, Tina Sharp, Shanna Robertson, and Steven Blanton.

Fresh Produce
Full Service Meat Market and Deli
Pies and Cakes Donuts and Pastries
New Freezers

Morgan Time Machines, Inc.

Editor's Note: Morgan Time Machines is temporarily closed while the boys try to make a living in the oil patch.


One of Santa Anna's many new business's is Morgan Time Machines, Inc.; located at the junction of US HWy 67 and US HWY 84/283 near the old Truck Harbor location. Morgan Time Machines will be operated by Bobby and Michelle Morgan and sons Bo and Tyler. Check out out their website at or better yet go by and see them and tell them that sent ya!

The business will provide quality mechanical repair, collision repair, and auto restoration. The shop will feature a state of the art ThermoAir full down draft paint spray booth from Certified Filter Service. The building is an American DuroSpan..."the world's most durable pre-engineered building designed to withstand the harshest weather conditions on earth including heavy snow, hurricanes, tornadoes and even earthquakes." The folks in Florida that were hit by Hurricane Charley sure could have used some of these... as fast as the Morgans got their's up maybe they should go down there and start putting them up until they get their shop opened. Bobby can hook you up if you are interested in one of these buildings for your business, farm, ranch, or home. He knows everything about them, who to talk to, what to do, and what not to do if you are going to put it up yourself, and even someone that will put it up for you! If you call them for a quote be sure and tell them that Bobby and sent you.

The most important aspects of this new business are the talents of young Bo and Tyler. Bo is a 2002 Santa Anna High School graduate and 2003 Autobody Collision Repair and Refinishing graduate of Texas State Technical College West Texas in Sweetwater. He is I-CAR certified in Refinishing, Estimating, Management, and Appraisal. Most important of all he can really spray paint! His younger brother, Tyler, is a 2004 Santa Anna High School graduate with awards in Metal Fabrication. He is going to be attending Texas State Technical College West Texas in Brownwood this Fall, Spring, and Summer studying Welding Technology.

We can't forget about Michelle, even though she probably wishes I would. I asked her if she would be refereeing the "boys" and she said she "gave up on that a long time ago" and that she would just be keeping the books. If you know my friend Bobby Morgan, you know that he does things right! In fact they say on their new business cards for Morgan Time Machines, "Collision Repair Done Right".

Good luck guys and thanks to Bobby for being my friend... who knows maybe you can hire old Mick!

For sale, cheap, slightly rusty, once lost, but now found, Sears Craftsman tools with "BO" engraving and toolbox last seen skiding across the street in front of the Methodist Church. Call Morgan Time Machines and ask for Bo!

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