By Pam Hensley
“Keeping Asheville Country” is just one of the many things that fourth-generation and store manager Nathan Jackson hopes to accomplish with his family-owned business, Jacksons Western Store.
This iconic business, featuring western wear and horse tack, started in 1938 and was located at 30 N. Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville, by Stonewall Jackson, Nathan’s great grandfather. The business grew from there.
In 1944 Julian Jackson, the middle son of Stonewall Jackson, came home from World War II, and during that time, he purchased some leather strapping and put it up for sale. It was such a success leather goods were incorporated into the business; that’s how the sale of leather became part of Jacksons.
In 1954, another son Thomas Jackson joined the business and they branched the company into farming supplies, feed, seed, and fertilizers. That part of the business continued until 1965 until it was decided that more energy and time should be spent on the leather side of the business.
Charles Jackson, the grandson of Stonewall Jackson and Nathan’s father, decided the building was not big enough to showcase all the inventory that was already being carried, and it was a must that more space be created for additional growth. So there current location off the I-240 interchange was secured and a building was constructed.
In 1972 when Jacksons moved from Lexington Avenue to Patton Avenue, many well-known people darkened those wooden double doors. Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Will Patton, and country’s own Hank
Williams Jr. are just a few that came to buy and purchased clothing and belts and other items from the store.
For years now, the iconic building with the two large boots located on the storefront has been a fixture for area residents looking to get their “country” on. Once inside the wooden double doors, you enter into a world of rodeo duds, cowboys, cowboy hats, Carhartt wear, shirts, coats and accessories, along with Wrangler, belt buckles, jewelry, and much more. All styles of boots fitting all size wallets, from children to adults along with handmade crocodile boots, that are a little more on the expensive side.
Downstairs in the leather shop, you will find work being done for a lot of different people, including SASS (Single Action Shooter Society) has picked up steam over the last ten years. Jacksons has been well-known for outfitting them with custom holders for their firearms. Also, work is done for police departments for harnesses and rigs for their horses.
Wanting to bring in the Western Culture, Jacksons carries some Winchester firearms that are over 140-years-old. They also carry a museum quality saddle that has been taken outstanding care of and has been around for 150 years. One saddle that has a lot of sentimental value is the last saddle made by Charles Jackson. An unknown businessman purchased the saddle, many years ago, and the saddle was returned to Charles when the business owner decided to go out of business. “He wanted the saddle to be returned to where he thought it belonged,” said Nathan Jackson.
Fourth-generation Nathan Jackson and sister, Brittany, will one day see their children, Nathan’s two sons and Brittany’s son, become the 5th generations of Jacksons to continue the business that has become a household name in the Asheville areas for the last 81 years.