PLEASANTON (KPIX) — An iconic retail store that has been a fixture in downtown Pleasanton for decades, Christesen’s Western Wear recently announced it is going out of business.

The shop has been in operation for nearly a century.

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The pandemic, the popularity of online shopping and the changing landscape of downtown Pleasanton to a dining area are some of the reasons the longtime Western wear and saddlery is closing.

One of the most asked questions on Monday was what will happen to Gus, the horse that sits at the store’s entrance?

Goodbyes are never easy. Christesen’s owner Rory Janes said it is emotional for him and for customers.

“Everyone has said, ‘I got my first boots here when I was six’ or ‘I bought my children’s boots here when they were kids,'” said Janes, choking up as he spoke.

Christesen;s Western Wear has been part of the downtown Pleasanton Main Street landscape since first opening in 1929, selling equestrian gear including riding boots, leather saddles and western wear.

“They used to have horse and carriages bringing things into what’s now the back parking lot,” said Janes.

“Everyone knows this place. It’s pretty sad,” said one longtime shopper.

The memories and history at the shop are endless.

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“Thoroughbred racing history is on the wall, and some won Kentucky derby,” said Janes.

“During the war, servicemen from Camp Parks would come here to cash their checks,” said another shopper.

Many families visiting Christesen’s would include a photo op with Gus the horse out in front of the store.

“She pet this horse before she even pet a real one,” said one customer, motioning to Gus and nodding towards his young daughter.

Jane said there were a variety of issues contributing to the shop’s closure.

“I’m sure Amazon is a factor, and yes, COVID pushed us over the cliff,” Janes explained.

‘Things change; demographics of towns change and the needs change,” said one customer.

So everything must go, including Gus. But store patrons don’t need to worry about him. Janes said he won’t be going far.

“Gus is going to move next door to the Museum on Main. They’ve agreed to have a Main Street home for him, just like he had here,” said Janes.

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Christesen’s is liquidating not only its merchandise, but also the store’s fixtures and equipment. While a hard closing date has not been set, the owner said it would likely be later this summer.

Juliette Goodrich