Lumber yard is living history

Robert Smith
Clydette and Arthur Brumley pose with their Sasquatch silhoutte at B&B Lumber and Hardware in Barnsdall.

BARNSDALL — Arthur Brumley likes running B&B Lumber & Hardware. The store officially opens at 8 a.m., but he’s usually got it open a little early.

The key to understanding his frame of mind is that running the hardware store is more than a job. It involves keeping part of Barnsdall’s history alive.

Arthur, 57, has spent most of his working years in the oilfield business. He was laid off in 2016, though, and he and his wife, Clydette, bought the lumber yard and hardware store from some friends in early 2017.

“I get old men in here all the time telling me about how their father bought them their first gun in here,” Arthur says. He and Clydette are making sure another generation will get to tell the same stories one day. The Brumleys estimate they have sold about 200 guns at the store since taking it over about two years ago.

Clydette says some of the older men had their first jobs at the store and lumber yard decades ago.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Arthur says. That includes electrical supplies, tools, plumbing supplies, paint supplies and fasteners, and guns and ammo. He and Clydette were customers at this location before they became owners and operators.

“I did it partly for us and partly for the town,” Arthur Brumley said of buying the business. “I just felt like it would be a good investment.

“I know it sounds crazy that somebody would buy a business to help the town,” he added, but he explained this business location in Barnsdall has never been anything but a lumber yard and hardware store and there’s a legacy to preserve. That includes the wooden building and its creaky floors. A new structure might be more energy efficient, but it wouldn’t be the same thing.

“Our nails are still done the old-fashioned way,” Arthur said. “We weigh them. They’re by the pound. We still do it like they did a hundred years ago.”

Another old-fashioned thing they enjoy is old-timers stopping in for early morning coffee and telling stories. Clydette says she likes listening to the fellas tell how things were back in the day.

And they enjoy the occasional visitor who just has to have his or her photo taken with the Sasquatch silhouette posted on the south side of the front of the store building. It’s a big, brown eye catcher of an item, and Clydette recalls wondering what people were doing the first time they stopped and made photos.

“Art, what are they doing?” Clydette recalls asking her husband.

“And they’re taking their picture like the thing’s chasing them,” she remembers.

In addition to the pleasure of keeping company with their customers, the Brumleys have the comfort of the proximity of their business to a candy store and restaurant business a few blocks away that Arthur’s sisters, Betty Brumley Gay and Cindy Brumley Huntsman, operate. It is called Sweet Scriptures and specializes in high quality candy and nourishing meals, as well as the certainty that you’ll leave with a printed Bible verse in your shopping bag.

Arthur says Betty and Cindy helped out with the lumber yard when he and Clydette needed a hand. He did his best to return the favor when they prepared to open their store.

Additionally, B&B is a business project to which both Arthur and Clydette make their contributions. She has another job but works in the store on Mondays and Tuesdays while he takes care of a small oil company he’s got.

The Brumleys try to keep an active hand in the local community, donating to the schools and participating with the Barnsdall Chamber of Commerce. They always enjoy sharing a chat about Barnsdall, both present and past.

You never know — they might have just what you need for your latest project, and Arthur vouches for his prices. The big, name-brand stores aren’t necessarily cheaper, he says. You’re welcome to check.