BY ROBERT MORALES
Shane Grubb moved to Van Horn in 1985 from Valentine. As he puts it, “where the grass is green and the girls are purdy.â€
Shane drove a cattle truck for Slim Brown Trucking in Valentine. After moving to Van Horn, Shane was a cook at Plateau Truck Stop for about two years. After that, he took a job at Texas Talc where he worked for two and a half years. Later, he became a truck driver for Allen Richey, hauling mail in June 1989, and he continues driving two routes to Arizona per week.
“When I was young, I learned how to trade. I just like to trade; Iâ€™ll trade for anything. If itâ€™s cheap enough, Iâ€™m going to buy it â€“ from bananas to billy goats. I used to work for Robert, the newspaper guy, until he cut me loose. He got tired of me and Lacrecia!â€
L&S Supercenter started out in meager surroundings. Shane set up two tables outside Mike Barrandeyâ€™s Bowlero Archery on Hwy. 90. Later, he moved into the present location on Broadway. The first store was the old gas station owned by Darice McVay. Later, he rented a small room on the McVay property for clothing. Eventually, he rented the former McVay home where Shane has turned into a showroom of sorts.
As his inventory kept growing, he also rents a space at the old Ford dealership, better known as Annâ€™s Flowers. He keeps furniture, tables, washers and dryers and some refrigerators at this location.
“Itâ€™s great,â€ Shane says. “Iâ€™m having the time of my life. Iâ€™m not making any money, but I sure am having an awfully good time. I really appreciate everybody coming by. I appreciate everyoneâ€™s business whether they buy something or even if they donâ€™t.â€
Shaneâ€™s philosophy on selling is simple. “If a customer tells me, â€˜Iâ€™m just looking,â€™ before they leave here, Iâ€™ll get it down cheap enough [that] Iâ€™ll sell it to them. You have to be honest with people. I donâ€™t care what you buy from me. If it doesnâ€™t work the way that you want it to work, please throw it away and come back and get your money back or find something else you like.â€
Although Shane is a first-rate wheeler-dealer, he remains humble. “I guess I understand poor people. Iâ€™ve been poor all my life. I understand poor people, and I guarantee I can help them. All I ask them is to be honest with me and Iâ€™m honest with them. So far Van Horn has been very good to me.â€
Van Horn has had its share of thrift stores/second-hand stores, but aside from one other store, theyâ€™ve all gone by the wayside. L&S has continued to grow in a relatively short period of time, and Shane attributes that to being able to travel extensively to find good deals for his store.
“I buy stuff reasonable enough where I can sell it to people in Van Horn so that they are able to afford it, and I try to get it bought right where I can sell it right where I can keep rotating my stock. I donâ€™t like it sitting here for very long. I want to get it out of here because we all get tired of seeing the same old thing. When you come into my place, I want you to see something new.â€
Shane has his regulars that stop by every day looking for their jewel. “Thatâ€™s why I like to keep inventory fresh, but more important, it has to be where people can afford it. Thatâ€™s the number one thing for me.â€
What makes L&S unique is the uniqueness of his offerings. Shane points out that he recently sold snow shoes and a fly fishing kit. “Who else has snow shoes and a fly fishing kit in Van Horn? You never know what people are going to buy in here.â€
Shane keeps a registry book to track where his customers are from. His customers are as diverse as Shane himself. People from all over the world have stopped in at L&S. “Iâ€™ve had some people from Iceland and I donâ€™t even know where Iceland is â€“ somewhere across the water or somewhere,â€ he says with his trademark grin.
He recently hosted a small group from England. They bought an American flag and a Texas license plate. “They wanted to take me to England,â€ Shane says. “Iâ€™ve never been to England. What am I going to do about Lacrecia? I better hang out in Van Horn!â€
He says he gets a lot of customers from Australia â€“ “fine, fine people,â€ he says.
Surprisingly, L&S is not open on Saturdays, yet that doesnâ€™t deter the locals or the tourists. When they see Shaneâ€™s truck parked out front or see him and Lacrecia lounging in their chairs, people know they can stop in for a friendly conversation or to see whether Shane has what people are looking for.
“The other day, you couldnâ€™t find a parking spot,â€ he says. People were trying to get out and there were at least three people parked here (pointing toward the back of the store) and there were four people trying to get in. It gets back to what Iâ€™ve been saying. I appreciate everybody. Without Van Horn, I wouldnâ€™t be here. I canâ€™t express that enough.
People know Shane well enough that he says itâ€™s common for locals to leave bags and boxes at the front door when heâ€™s closed. “I appreciate whoeverâ€™s doing it, but I donâ€™t know who it is.â€ Likewise, Shaneâ€™s customers include those wanting to sell something. “I usually buy at least one or two things from customers. Thereâ€™s hardly a day goes by that I donâ€™t buy something from somebody.â€
His inventory comes from Valentine, Odessa-Midland, San Angelo, Deming, New Mex., and Wilcox, Ariz., just to name a few. “If itâ€™s for sale, I donâ€™t care what it is as long as it works and itâ€™s cheap enough, Iâ€™ll buy it because someone somewhere has to have it.â€
Some of the more popular selling items are kitchen gadgets, DVDs, washers, dryers, and refrigerators. “I sell a lot of knick-knacks, but mainly to tourists,â€ he says.
As much as he loves tending to his customers, he admits he loves the home life. “I just go home and I do some honey doâ€™s for little Miss Lacrecia,â€ he says jokingly. “I like the quiet life at home. Weâ€™ve got several dogs we take walking. Iâ€™ve got a little handful of sheep and goats. I just like quiet time. Now, if the store is real busy, Iâ€™ll stay here till midnight if needed. As long as I see that cash is cominâ€™ in, youâ€™re going to spot oleâ€™ Shane right here.â€
The Grubbs live on 25 acres a few miles from town. “That way when Lacrecia gets mad, I walk to the other side of the property and in a little bit, sheâ€™s cooled off and everybodyâ€™s happy. Thatâ€™s why me and her have a perfect marriage,â€ he interjects.