Wells Brothers Store Celebrates Six Decades in Plano
Farmers plowed and tilled the sticky black soil of Plano over and over again, year after year, back when this was an agriculture town. Those days are mostly gone, but there is one sign from the 1950s that is still thriving, but in a different way.
Wells Brothers Pet, Lawn and Garden Supply at 5001 K Ave. is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, but product sales are quite different now than in 1959.
Richard Wells, son of store co-founder William Wells and nephew of co-founder John Wells, is keeping the family business alive and well, but in a different location and with shelves stocked with items never imagined when his ancestors began the enterprise. “Our business has evolved as farmers go away,” Richard explained as he reminisced about how the farmland around Plano has been swallowed up by homes and businesses over the last 60 years.
Nancy Wells Warder, the daughter of John, said the original Wells Brothers Seed Company business was on what is now Coit Road, next to the W.H.L. Wells home. “We called it #1,” added Nancy, a 1973 graduate of Plano High School. Plano ISD honored the family by naming an elementary school Wells Elementary. The brothers also had one sister, Virginia Wells Wheeler, the mother of former longtime Plano ISD coach Mike Wheeler.
Richard explained that in the mid-1950s at location #1 on Coit Road, the business then involved processing and storing Texas #1 Hybrid Seed Corn. The desire for rail access prompted the brothers to relocate the business to a site on the rail line on Highway 5, close to the north edge of Plano near present day Spring Creek Parkway.
One hot day in August 1959, the new location took in its first load of grain. As the adage dictates, the rest is history. “We had grain elevators, but we also started dealing tractors, tires, feed and anything farmers needed,” Richard said.
But as time went on, farmers began to leave the area with development encroaching. Wells Brothers eventually sold the land and buildings on Highway 5. “The last building went down in 2000, two days before dad died,” Richard said.
But that was not the end of the Wells family business. Richard, owner and manager, along with his brother, Johnny, opened the current pet, lawn and garden supply business on K Ave., a little east of the previous site. As times have changed, the store has adapted to meet the needs of customers now living in this area.
“We have the largest organic supplies around,” Richard continued. “We have lots of different repellents for critters. We sell a lot of dog food and supplies, too.”
As open land disappears in the surrounding areas, so does the number of residents who raise horses. “The horse business is really gone,” he said. Ten years ago, 20 percent of the store’s business was selling horse feed, but the area of the store previously dedicated to horse supplies is now stocked with items people can use in their yards.
In early April, the Wells family celebrated the 60-year anniversary with an all-day party at the current store. Howard Garrett, a well-known organic gardening expert, was on hand to answer questions.
The two adult children of Richard, along with his wife, Stephanie, are still involved in different roles at the store. “I guess the thing that sticks out in my mind after 60 years is that this is still a family business,” Richard said.Wells Brothers Pet, Lawn and Garden Supply >