Haney Feed and Farm Supply History
In 1938, four brothers opened a General Store in what is currently the Century 21 and Huckleberry Saddle and Tack building, located on the corner of Alliance and Business 290 in Waller, Texas. They sold a variety of goods, such as groceries, clothing, hardware and Sun Glow animal feeds.
The brothers were Charles, James or Jim as he was known, Giles and Staton Haney. Charlie Haney, a Houston police officer and Jim Haney, who worked for Standard Brands in Houston, were the majority financiers of this endeavor.
Giles and Staton took care of the day to day operations and Charlie and Jim helped out when they could. Staton had contracted spinal meningitis and infantile paralysis or polio as a boy and suffered his whole life and then passed away in 1939. Jim and his wife Ora Pleasant Haney stepped in to help Giles run the business.
In May of 1945, Haney Brothers became a Purina dealer and began selling Purina products and does to this day. Jim leased land on the south side of town, along the railroad where he built a warehouse in 1948, which is the current location. This warehouse was where goods were off-loaded from railroad cars and stored for the store. The old Waller Train Depot dock still stands and Doyle uses it to load his tractor. Jim later added a hammer- mill and bulk tower.
A fire in an electrical box, in 1951, occured in the warehouse. The City of Waller had received a brand new fire truck, but unfamiliarity with the equipment did not help with the fire; the old truck was brought in to battle the flames. The building was saved, but you can still see the charred boards in the rafters. The showroom and office were added later.
By 1955, the Haney brothers chose to divide the business three ways, with Giles taking the dry goods section and Charlie taking the grocery section and the two remained in the Haney Bros. building; and Jim taking the animal feed store where it currently resides. He renamed this business, Haney Feed and Farm Supply, which is currently dba Sitton, Inc.
Jim Haney's first daughter, Eunice, was attending Stephan F. Austin University, studying Elementary Education, where she met her future husband, Doyle Sitton from Russ County. Doyle was studying for a degree in Social Studies, Government and Physical Education. It was through basketball that Eunice met Doyle. She was working at the University cafeteria and his basketball team would come in late after practice for dinner.
Eunice graduated in 1955 and began teaching at Waller I.S.D. Doyle graduated in June 1956 and they married three days later. While Eunice was working on her Masters, Jim asked Doyle to come into the family business. He bought a 25% interest in the store and began working there in 1956. They settled in Waller and started a family in 1958.
Jim passed away in 1960 and Doyle continued to run the business for Ora Haney, Jim's wife; eventually buying out her interest in 1964. Before Jim's death, he had a bulk tower built, so the store could handle bulk feeds. Sick with cancer, Jim was still able to see the first load of bulk feed loaded into the new tower.
The mill that Jim had added earlier, facilitated the making of custom mixes and the now famous "Haney Creep" and Haney Salt-Meal mixes. Custom mixes were delivered to the various poultry and dairy farms in the area. Mixes were made at the mill until 2011 when the mill broke beyond repair. For years, it had been held together with blood, sweat and prayer. The owners are still debating the pros and cons of building another mill. A local company is currently preparing our recipes.
In 1958, Purina was promoting a product called Colony Cages for chickens, a 4x8 cage for 32 birds . At that time, Doyle's father, John Gaddy Sitton, was working for a gas station and driving a school bus in East Texas. Doyle approached his father about starting an egg farm utilizing the Colony Cages and Gaddy moved his family to Fieldstore. They built four chicken houses and raised eggs to be sold at Haney Feed. Gaddy also drove a school bus for Waller I.S.D.
The poultry farmers brought their eggs into the store to sell. They were washed, sorted, and boxed for sale. Doyle's mother, Erma Sitton and his sister, Terecia Sitton Gostecnik, worked at this part of the business. Terecia remembers how she " got really good at catching eggs with her feet before they hit the floor." The egg cartons were even made on the premises. We still have a lot of the old equipment on display above our new double doors. David, Doyle and Eunice's eldest son, remembers as a child riding with his Grandmother Sitton to Houston to deliver and sell eggs.
Doyle added the bulk fertilizer in 1973, when the Naegeli Brothers were going out of business, and he acquired their fertilizer truck and bin; and took over their dealership with Occidental Fertilizers. Later, he used Olin Feritlizers. He now runs two fertilizer trucks and uses American Plant Food Company. At this time, at age 77, he considers himself "semi-retired". More often than not, you will find him playing Free-Cell in the office or working in his garden across the street from the store, if he is not spreading fertilizer. He tells the office ladies "Call me , if someone needs me" when he heads out to the garden.
After Eunice retired from teaching in 1992; she started keeping the books at the store and waiting on customers and still comes in two days a week. She enjoys seeing some of her students all grown up with their own children. They all remember her,too.
In 2000, Southern Pacific Railroad approached Doyle and Eunice about purchasing the land the store currently sits on, they agreed. We now own our little piece of Waller.
The bulk tower on the north side of the store was deconstructed for salvage on November 25, 2005. James has video of the event. It made for an interesting afternoon and a little scarey, too! It was ninety feet tall!!
The hay barn on the southwest side of the store front, that was featured in a Chevy Truck Month commercial, burned down, either by accident or arson, on July 5, 2006; with a new shipment of coastal and alfalfa hay. It was a great loss, but Haney Feed persevered. It made for an exciting morning in this little town!!
We celebrated our 70th anniversary in 2008 with a cake and lots of memories. Our Purina representative, Dale Ellis, was there to help us celebrate.
Along about 2009, Jerry Gostecnik, Doyle's brother-in-law, started renovating the outside of the building. He removed the old tin and replaced it with a sandstone colored tin with forest green trim. He replaced the awning across the front and gave us new double doors. Not to worry, the blue door is still here! We put it on display above the double doors with all our other memorabilia, including accout rements of the egg business. An iron emblem with "HANEY BRO. Est 1938 Sitton Inc." was placed on the front of the building.
There have been three generations of Sittons working at Haney Feed and Farm Supply: Doyle and Eunice; their three sons, David, James, and Tim; three grandsons, Justin and Jason, David's sons, and Matthew, James' son; and one grandaughter, Jennifer, David's daughter. James currently runs the show along with the assistance of David's wife, Karen and long-time employee Frenda Sheets, who as a young mother started the first 4H Horse Club in Waller County . We also have Paul Pickering, James' stepson, Tim Kalbow, and Lisa Hart, our chicken and other horse expert.
My daughter, Jennifer, has informed me that I need to include our signature "Chick Days" slogan in this accounting. Around Easter we sell baby chicks, and on the marqee in front we always put "HANEY FEED A Great Place to Pick Up Chicks!" According to her, many brides have had their photos taken in front of the sign! A former employee, Steve S., came up with this slogan.
Next time you are around our way, stop in and chat awhile and have a look at our "museum" pieces. The ladies at the counter will be glad to assist you with a smile!!
This history was written by Karen Sitton in 2012. I strived to make it as accurate as possible. Any discrepencies will be happily corrected. It may seem long, but I wanted to cover all the bases while I had the family historians here to give me the information.