Do-Sal Western Wear started as a modest business venture almost half a century ago, with Dorothy Salyer sewing square-dancing petticoats in her basement.
Forty-eight years later, Dorothy and her daughter, Cindy Salyer, will close the doors on Do-Sal Western Wear – the business that uses the first several letters of Dorothy’s name – July 3. The business had four locations in its early years before settling on 23rd Street more than 25 years ago.
The location at 16311 E. 23rd St. was once a Bonanza Steakhouse. Dorothy Salyer bought it in 1983.
Dorothy Salyer’s husband and her husband’s brothers were avid square dancers, Cindy said, which spurred her interest. Prior to her business ventures, Dorothy had worked as a school teacher, and Cindy’s full-time involvement started more than 20 years ago.
“We went to square dances all over the Midwest,” Cindy said, recalling her childhood memories. “Mom and Dad packed her stuff up, and Mom set up a booth, sold it and made lots of friends. They danced, and we got to go to conventions and my cousins did, too – we grew up like that.”
Almost a decade into the 21st century, square dancing is practically obsolete, Cindy said, except for its following among retired people.
“That’s why we evolved more into the Western end of it, too, in the mid-1980s,” Cindy said. “It used to be very big.”
Some memorabilia throughout Do-Sal Western Wear leaves an impression of the business standing still for 25 years. Giant posters of country singers Garth Brooks and Reba McIntyre in the infancy of their careers plaster several walls.
In the January 1990 issue of Tack ‘N Togs Merchandising, Cindy discussed her mother’s work ethic. Dorothy Salyer, now 88, also operates Do-Sal’s Collectible Treasures at 111 N. Main St. on the Independence Square.
“If you saw my mother or talked to anybody who knows her, she’s unbelievable,” Cindy said in 1990. “I wish I had half her energy. She is 68 years old and goes like she is 18. She has a lot of interests besides the store, and I have let her loose to enjoy other things.”
The building has been for sale for months now, but about six weeks ago, Cindy and Dorothy said, “It’s time to go fishing, retire and spend more time at the lake.”
“People that are coming in can remember coming in here ever since they were kids, growing up here and coming in here with their grandparents and parents,” Cindy said, “getting their first boots and hats here.”
Do-Sal Western Wear is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and is closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 816-254-8535.
“I’d just like to thank everybody – Independence and Eastern Jackson County – for 48 years,” Cindy said.