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After 92 years of business on Main Street in downtown Pleasanton, Christesen's will close. Over the years, many families, kids and pets have taken photos with Gus the horse, who stands outside the shop.  (Photo – Doug Jorgensen)

Located in the heart of downtown Pleasanton, a little western wear shop — widely known for its life-size horse statue named Gus — will close.

Christesen’s Western & Saddlery, started by Pete Christesen in 1929, is located on Main Street and has been an established pillar of the community for 92 years. During its lifetime, the store has survived the Great Depression, seen three owners and served several generations of customers. 

“We appreciate everything that Pleasanton and the surrounding communities have done for us and hope that we’ve served the community well,” stated owners Rory and Nancy Janes in a press release. “We look forward to the next chapters in our lives and to wherever inspiration takes us.”

Rory went on to say he was proud of the business for its long and fruitful run, along with the accomplishments of his family and staff. Rory purchased the business in the 1980s from his father, who bought it in the 1960s from Christesen.

“We are also very blessed to have met and bonded with so many of our loyal and supportive customers,” Rory continued.

The store is currently holding a liquidation sale, which Rory said will end depending upon the customer reaction. He noted that there is no firm deadline to vacate the building and anticipated the closure to take a few months. There will be significant discounts on all merchandise in addition to contest prizes ― no purchase necessary.

When it comes to the iconic stationary equine figure out front, Rory reported that Gus will continue to live on at the Museum on Main next door.

“Literally hundreds of people offered to buy the horse to keep him in Pleasanton,” he said. Probably 700 or 800 people have mentioned, ‘You know, I bought my first pair of boots here when I was X number of years old,’ or ‘I bought my kids’ boots here’ … Everybody has their story.”

When it came to the reason behind the closure, Rory said three factors had a hand. 

“For years, Pleasanton’s planners have wanted a downtown with a dining destination. And that’s pretty much what they have now; there’s very little retail left down here, so that’s number one,” he said. “Number two, Pleasanton has become, over the years, more urban. There’s very little equestrian activity. The racetrack is lumped into that. There used to be 300 or 400 horses or more boarded at the racetrack year-round. That’s not in the equation like it used to be, so all of the horse products that we carried have suffered. Then the third and final piece of the puzzle is, of course, COVID. That sort of pushed us over the edge.”

The family continues to operate its Livermore store, Baughman’s Western Outfitters, which Rory said also sees support from surrounding equine-centric communities, such as Byron, Knightsen and Brentwood.

“We appreciate the loyalty that has kept us in business for over 92 years,” Rory said. “We’re grateful for that.”

Christesen’s is located at 633 Main St. For more information, call 925-846-2169.