For over 100 years there was a store in Cele Texas (pronounced like the aquatic mammal). There was never much of a town, but there was a combination general store, saloon, and restaurant that served the Czech settlers of the region and surrounding microtowns like New Sweden and Rices Crossing.
Every little town in Central Texas had a store, and one by one over the last century they shut down, unable to compete with the selection and services available in larger towns like Taylor and Manor. A few years ago it was the Clarksville store as old Clarksville got plowed under for cookie-cutter housing developments. Now we're saying goodbye to the Cele store, which has been the heart of its small community since 1891.
The Cele store started out as the Richland Saloon when the area around Austin was almost the Wild West. It has been run by the same family since Marvin Weiss took it over in 1951 after he came back from the war. His widow is now in her 80s and the kids all have other jobs or have moved away.
Cele is facing inevitable integration into the outskirts of Austin, and the store has outlived its contemporaries and is one of the last of its breed. After the 28th of December it will join so many other stores as just a part of history.
What made the Cele store unique is that in addition to selling farm equipment, feed, and dry goods, every Friday and Saturday it turned into a barbeque restaurant and people came from Austin and beyond to enjoy their traditional brisket, sausage, and pork ribs.
The barbeque became famous, drawing diners from all over Central Texas for the unique experience. The store became a legend in its own right, as a bit of antique Americana preserved for posterity. It was featured as a location in several movies including Second Hand Lions and A Perfect World, accounting for the autographed photos of Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, and Michael Caine on the walls.