Downtime with Parley Pearce

The co-owner of Hamley & Co discusses work, life and play.

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When I’m not working
My hobbies include hunting for Old West antiques and artifacts, traveling the West, and learning the history of different areas. I like restoring old antiques, especially old gambling equipment from the early West. I also like dabbling in cowboy poetry and attending cowboy music and poetry festivals.

What I’m reading
I like history books the best, and many of the Western magazines, including Western Horseman, Ranch and Reata, True West and Range magazines.

What I’m watching
Old Western shows from Gunsmoke to Have Gun Will Travel. They have a clear distinction between good and evil, and the good almost always prevails. In real life that doesn’t happen as predictably. I like old Western movies. A side note: We made saddles and gear for the likes of Buffalo Bill, Hoot Gibson, Gene Autry, Walter Brennan, Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy and most recently for Matt Damon in All the Pretty Horses.

Family hearth
My father and all six of his brothers were great old cowboys, and I grew up on a cattle ranch in Idaho. Our traditions included riding on the ranch, handling cattle and living the cowboy lifestyle. I went on to veterinary school and finished my degree. I raised my children a little differently while still preserving many of the old traditions. We added newer traditions like mountain biking, hiking and traveling.

We use a number of the apps associated with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, Google, etc. We use a marketing app [Smart Social] that reaches across much of social media.

No place like…
I’ve always been partial to smaller towns. I’ve visited many large cities, from New York to San Francisco to New Orleans, and enjoyed the visits, but probably enjoy smaller towns more. I think Durango, Colorado is cool.  It is pretty, has a great history and has preserved many of its old treasures, like the Strater Hotel. We like towns of that size. Easy to navigate and lots to do. Pendleton is also a cool town, and it’s getting better all the time.

Business role model
Much of my business philosophy was learned from the founder of Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, Dave Thomas. I was a Wendy’s franchisee for many years and enjoyed the philosophy that Dave Thomas was so committed to: Always take good care of your customer and provide a superior product. We try very hard to do that every day.

You own buildings in downtown Pendleton.
I happen to love old buildings and love to see them restored and gain a second life. At times it almost becomes a vice, because from a pure return on investment standpoint, they are often not very good. But they sure are rewarding at least emotionally when you see them gain a second life.

Is Hamley & Co. modernizing the Western tradition?
The cowboy and cowgirl treasure tradition. The cowboy wears a hat and boots and throws a rope and wears spurs just as he did a hundred years ago. Compared to the remarkable changes that have occurred in our civilization and our lifestyles in the past 100 years, our business is significantly similar to what it was like 100 years ago. I ride a 90-year-old saddle that I acquired as a young boy. It was old then, but it fit my horse and fits me. I still get great pleasure from riding it.