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The end of an era as Wolfmueller's Books closes

The Wolfmueller family has been operating businesses for more than a century in downtown Kerrville

Only the most demanding fans of certain politicians, preachers and celebrities would come away satisfied with the remnants of Earl Garrett Street's Wolfmueller's Books on Saturday.

If you are a big fan of former Texas congressman and scandal-plagued Tom Delay, there was a book for you. The same thing with former Attorney General and old-time singer John Ashcroft. If you like prosperity, there was plenty from Houston preacher Joel Osteen.

Saturday was closing day for proprietors Jon and Sandy Wolfmueller. After more than a century of serving downtown Kerrville customers, there will no longer be a Wolfmueller's store, bakery or soda fountain in business.


Sandy Wolfmueller, left, and Jean Weber, right, rearrange books on the final day of business for downtown Kerrville's Wolfmueller's Books.

A woman walked into the store on Saturday morning, handed Jon Wolfmueller a thank you card. "I can't believe you're closing," she said. "Thank you."

Jon Wolfmueller believes Baublitt's jewelry store — fronted on Water Street — will be the oldest downtown business after the book store closed its doors on Saturday.

For Jon Wolfmueller, nearly his entire life has centered in downtown Kerrville. Wolfmueller's came to Kerrville a century ago to bake bread, which turned to men's clothes and then a takeover of Pampell's as a soda fountain and antique store. Finally, the book store, which was situated in a building the Wolfmuellers previously owned.

Through the years, Jon and Sandy Wolfmueller have been mainstays around Kerrville, involved in various community organizations and events.

Now, they are retired. They aren't going anywhere — Kerrville has been home for the entirety of their nearly 50 years of marriage. Sandy and Jon Wolfmueller met at a summer camp — she was a camper, he was a worker. They've seen heartache and triumph through the years.

Joy now features three inquisitive grandchildren, a couple of feral turned lazy cats and a botanical garden-like home.

When asked what his father and grandfather would think of his retirement, Jon Wolfmueller was immediate and precise in his reaction.

"They would be happy," he said.

Wolfmueller's Books was essentially Sandy's idea. An avid reader with an eye for deals, she built a small section of their antique store into a burgeoning enterprise that featured some of Texas' best writing. It attracted fans and scholars of Texana writing from across the state. Wolfmueller's proved essential for the works of Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, Frank Dobie and the incomparably irascible Kinky Friedman.

If they didn't have it, Sandy Wolfmueller knew where to get it. In the age of online purchasing, the bookstore was a sure-fire fit in downtown Kerrville.

For several months, the couple has slowly liquidated its inventory.

At one point, there were more than 35,000 books in the store, but on Saturday, there were less than 1,000. There was a smattering of art, vinyl records and Esquire magazines from the 1950s. Bookshelves were gone, desks too and the store looked more like a garage sale — with a smattering of card tables remaining.

The end of an era has come to downtown Kerrville, but Jon and Sandy Wolfmueller certainly enjoyed the ride.


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