Lease of faith; Local man grows business out of necessity
James Wetherbee’s path to success started with a $900 tax refund check, a 1969 Chevy pickup, and a need for income to supplement his job as the dairy manager at a Safeway grocery store.
The year was 1976 when he took the leap of faith that eventually led him to owning the largest gift shop in Wichita Falls – Finishing Touch.
The leap actually was into the driver’s seat of the ’69 “un-air-conditioned” pickup for the long trip to Mexico where he bought a truckload of clay pots and wrought iron baker’s racks and other items to sell on the streets of Wichita Falls, usually at abandoned gas stations after a day’s work at Safeway.
One of the trips included a passenger, his mother, who thought it would be a nice outing with her son.
“After I had sold out, I would get back in my truck and drive to Mexico and pick up another load,” the native Wichitan said. “My mother ((Myrtle) always has her hair done every week. She looked so nice and fresh when we started …but it was midsummer, hot and sticky.
“She rode all those miles without any air-conditioning. It was a memory for both of us, but she never went back. Well, I did this several times and I was breaking as much as I was selling, so I decided it was time to look for a permanent building.”
He soon found a building, located next to the former Bonanza Steakhouse on Seymour Highway.