At the end of May the oldest continuously operating business in Booneville will close. Jerry Oswalt will be closing Skinner’s Hardware to pursue rest and his love of bird dogs.

Skinners was opened in 1898 by J.W. Skinner. The store moved to its current location, 132 N Broadway, in 1928 . By then J.W. had been joined by his son Alton. What started in one building in time became three. Alton’s son, also named J.W., soon joined the family business. When the younger J.W. retired in 1989 he sold the business to Oswalt.

Oswalt moved to the area in 1956 when his father became pastor of the Assembly of God Church in Magazine. Having only two jobs, Oswalt has worked in a two-square block area his entire work life. He worked at Western Auto on 2nd and Broadway from August 1961 until he bought Skinner’s in January 1989.

Oswalt is learning to relax. He is looking forward to working with his dog and judging the occasional field trial.