Watson Feed Store in Mart was honored by Purina representatives Sept. 6 for its longtime affiliation with the pet food and agriculture food manufacturer.
The store, built in 1906 on Texas Avenue in Mart, has sold Purina products since 1905, making its 114-year partnership the longest in North America, according to Scott Phillips, area sales manager.
Phillips and local Purina sales specialist Jeff Conner recognized the store and owner Greta Watson for the longtime connection during a short ceremony. They presented her with a specially designed belt buckle to be displayed in the store.
Phillips said Purina is marking its 125th anniversary this year by recognizing its oldest partnerships throughout the country. Only six businesses are being recognized, four of them in Texas, and Watson Feed Store is the oldest of them all, he said.
Watson expressed her appreciation for the honor and for the many longtime customers of the store, which at one point also served as a slaughterhouse, butcher shop and leather goods store.
The upstairs still has its old dance floor from its days as a dance hall as well as cubicles where union representatives for the railroad used to work. The building was named a state historic landmark in 2003.
Ruff Watson established the R. Watson Feed Store. His son, Murray Watson Sr., renamed it Watson Feed Store in 1946 and later passed it down to his son, Murray Watson Jr.
Watson Jr., a state legislator who introduced legislation to create Texas State Technical College, died in July 2018. His wife, Greta, now owns the store, which is managed by longtime Mart resident Blake Sielaff.