For comparisons sake it would be like Orinda losing its trademark theater; Lafayette its divey Roundup Saloon; Danville its beloved train depot.
A quaint relic which managed to survive beyond it’s originally intended purpose and on into modern times – beloved by many for the trademark horse – “Easy Keeper” to late owner John Bellandi, “Norman” to townsfolk – surveying the street from its perch above the adjacent shoe store, the place to go if you still had an actual, live horse and needed tack or feed.
Alamo Hay & Grain, so many of you have wailed, appears to be closed for good, longtime customers dropping by to find its roll-up metal door down and locked.
Locals are bemoaning the loss of the kitschy old hay loft and feed store, where SUVs rolled through its old fashioned but efficient drive-thru interior, employees pitching in bags of feed or anything else a member of the horsey set or lover of farm animals might need to keep their ranches running efficiently.
“Got our chickens here,” said Martinez resident John Gallagher, his hand shielding his eyes from a bright summer sun, his voice a trifle heavy with whimsy and memories. “Good layers.”
Buzz about the old store’s final closure was rampant since the metal door came down unexpectedly in July. Its owner, Anne Bellandi, mute about its fate.
Fans of the business expressed hope for its repurposing, expressing concern for the fate of the Quiet Pony which watched generations pass under its nose along Danville Boulevard – where real horses and buggies were eventually replaced by SUVs and Teslas.
“I hope they don’t get rid of the horse,” Gallagher says before heading back to his own car. “That would be a shame.”