HometownMcLennan County


Motivational senior working right into his eighties

Alan Richie, Richie's Western Wear
Posted at 8:10 AM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 12:41:39-04

WACO, Texas — It's early in the morning and it might feel good to hit snooze but if you need some motivation, here it is.

A mom-and-pop business owner who's now in his 80s is still working full-time.

Not because he needs to but because he enjoys what he does.

When it comes to the perfect fitting cowboy boots, Alan Richie is something of an expert around these parts, stretching out several pairs of boots a day.

In fact, he's done it thousands of times, through trial and error.

The owner of Richie's Western Wear in Waco has been at it since 1981 at the same location.

The family business is a team effort with three generations and employees that are just like family.

Despite all the help, he still puts in 10-12 hours a day.

"I get up in the morning and I don't dread coming to work," Richie told 25 News. "I look forward to coming to work."

Richie is there seven days a week except during church.

"Sundays are half-day and that feels like a day off," Richie said.

Steven Walpole has been shopping here since he was a little kid for things like straw hats.

"It's just part of you, you know," Walpole described the perfect hat. "It tops off the cake."

"We sell straws year-round here in Texas," Richie said.

It has to fit just right and that's where the steamer comes in.

"Basically, to steam a hat you need a chin and two hands," Richie said with a big smile.

A skill he admits took time to develop.

"When we first started selling hats, we didn't have a clue," said Richie.

He quickly perfected the personalized service Central Texas keeps coming back for.

"Every time you walk through that front door right there, he greets you," Walpole said. "We need those feel-good stories to remind us that a small store like this that's locally owned, locally built makes it through the pandemic, and is still here. I mean, that's the kind of solidarity that we need."

Richie isn't slowing down anytime soon.

We caught him celebrating another birthday, hard at work.

How many candles will be on the cake?

"It depends on how you sort the numbers," Richie joked. "I'm telling people I'm 18 today. So, if you transpose the numbers, you have my age."