Connie Jeter likes to make his name—and that of his western clothing store—into a conversation starter.
“Now, which one of us do you think is Connie and which is Hermie?” he jokes. “Most think I’m Hermie.”
Connie Jeter and his wife Hermie have run C&H Western Wear since 1962. They sell all things western, from boots and hats to jeans, saddles and bits.
“If it’s western, we have it,” said Jeter. The store caters to the western crowd—both the weekend cowboy and the folks who need fancy duds to wear while riding horses in a show ring. Of course, you don’t have to ride a horse to shop at C&H. They carry more than 4,000 pairs of Levi’s, the biggest supply in the area according to Jeter.
“People come from all over for our jeans—and you can’t get them cheaper anywhere,” he said.
He also does leather repair and custom leather work. He said he can repair your favorite belt or mend a saddle.
Jeter only recently gave up riding horses himself. He rode the rodeo circuit as a young man, traveling all around Missouri and Illinois to compete. He quit the rough and tumble rodeo life for his bride, but they still showed their horses together. He would compete in speed classes like barrel racing, while Hermie showed in the more sedate Western Pleasure and halter classes, where riders display their horse’s calm gait, obedience and beauty.
Their daughter followed in their hoof prints and also competed in speed classes. Now she’s helping her parent’s western wear shop gallop into the 21st Century through the use of an eBay store. Jeter said he doesn’t even own a computer, but he hopes his daughter’s technical skills can spread the store’s reach beyond High Ridge and Jefferson County.
Jeter understands that western wear is a niche market, so 10 years ago he decided to diversify his business interests. He started a check cashing business, called Connie’s Cash, inside the apparel store.
“Cashing checks is something people need,” he said. “It’s a two-week loan. You can’t go to a bank for $500, it would takes weeks, but we can give it to you the same day.”
He said the shift in the economy gave him the idea to get into the money lending business. He also sells flatbed trailers under the name “Connie’s Cars & Trailers.”