LOCKWOOD, Mo. — When a person turns 80 it’s a big deal and they often get a special party.
What about when a business turns 80? You don’t hear of that happening very often.
A longtime Main Street staple in Lockwood is marking that milestone and the same family has been behind the cash register all these years.
See what keeps customers coming back to Rader’s in this Oliver’s Ozarks report:
“Rader’s store where your dollar will buy more,” said Kay Means. “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”
Two slogans that’ve served generations of customers at Rader’s in Lockwood for the last 80 years.
“Our Grandpa Rader came here in 1938 and opened the store,” Means said.
Kay Means and her sister Janice Theurer run the store now, but locals remember Leo Rader being behind the counter. He ran the store from 1951 until he passed away just a few years ago.
The store sells a little bit of everything: work boots blouses and buttons. There are items to keep your head and hands warm or the materials to help you knit your own.
“One lady came in and said when her kids were in school Leo would sell to her on credit,” Theurer said. “And she said ‘I don’t know how I would’ve got through without this store. I could come in and get everything my kids needed.'”
“This is a small farming community so we try to carry the things that suit our customers,” Means said.
Joanne Snodgrass has been shopping at Rader’s for almost 60 years herself and you might say she wears her support for the store on her sleeve, literally.
“I have on slacks, shirt, jacket and I just bought this last week and my friend bought me the black gloves from here for my birthday,” Snodgrass said.
The ladies at Rader’s keep prices a bit lower because it’s harder to compete with big box stores and online retailers.
But most people will tell you it’s not price tags that bring customers back, it’s tradition.
“People come in here and say my mom or my grandpa would bring me in here when I was a kid,” Theurer said. “And I just want to look around. And mostly it’s the same. You know it’s like a step back in time I guess.”
“It’s family,” Snodgrass said. “You almost feel like you’re family, or part of the Rader family when you’ve shopped here for almost 60 years. They have a personal interest in their customers and that’s something that I appreciate.”
Local vendors also appreciate the Rader family and its store they have a table set up where you can buy the handmade wares of people living in Dade County.
Five generations Rader’s have worked in this store over the last 80 years. No doubt this store has made a mark on Main Street and it’s part of the fabric of Lockwood’s legacy.
“We feel like we’re a service to the community,” Means said. “There’s not a store similar to this within 25-50 miles from here.”
“But we’ve had people come in since Leo died and say we’re so glad you are still here,” Theurer said.
“When they come in they call you by name,” Snodgrass said. “They smile at you. And they’re always just so pleasant. Makes you feel comfortable to come in here and shop.”
The ladies at Rader’s told me that Leo Rader never wanted an empty building on Main Street. That’s part of why they’ve been open so long and one of the reasons he bought the Lockwood Hardware store when it was for sale several years ago.
Rader’s is planning to offer specials each month to mark its 80th birthday.