After 26 years of offering the community versatile and unique merchandise, good conversation and a friendly wave from his storefront at 144 N. Tegner St., longtime Wickenburg resident Will Lochridge has sold The Refried Bean, making room for new owners to open another establishment.
“I want to enjoy my golden years,” said Lochridge, who opened his store in 1992 with his late wife Suzy. “I don’t have any plans now, and really don’t want any because I’ll have to follow them. This way, I can just decide day by day.”
Through the past 100 years, the location has had several businesses, including Antler’s Bar, a pretty notorious place, according to Lochridge. In fact, residents who attended Garcia’s Little Red Schoolhouse remember being instructed as children to walk on the other side of the street while passing the bar on their way to school and back.
Since Lochridge has owned the building, he has done massive renovations, adding space to accommodate his merchandise. Clothing was added several years ago, with the help of his longtime assistant Amber Monett. With an honest reputation and intriguing ware, he’s earned a following of both locals and tourists from around the world.
Will and Suzy originally relocated to Wickenburg from New York, where he was employed by NBC and ABC as vice president of radio networks. His original plan was to purchase a radio station in town, which he followed but deviated from the part of the plan where he would retire after selling the station.
“I realized I wanted to do something,” said Lochridge, “so I decided to do a store.”
It was trips to Mexico with Suzy that inspired him to open a shop that featured vast and colorful Mexican articles. Through the years, he’s enjoyed traveling back and forth to the nearby country, forging friendships and stocking his shop with goods he has been proud to carry.
In addition to The Refried Bean, Lochridge has been extremely involved in the Wickenburg community. Both he and Suzy raised their granddaughter while he served as president of the Wickenburg Community Hospital, sat on the board of the Desert Caballeros Western Museum and was involved with several commissions for the Town of Wickenburg.
He is a member of the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce, Elks Lodge, the American Legion and Wickenburg Country Club.
Suzy was involved in the community as well, both a part of the Wickenburg Saddle Club with the DC Ride and she with Las Damas. Both had friends far and wide.
Now that retirement is at hand, Lochridge says it’s the people he’ll miss – customers and those he visited with as he sat outside his shop.
“I will miss all the people I’ve met over the last 26 years,” said Lochridge, “from tourists to our local customers; from movie stars who walked through the door to all the people who have passed on, people I’ve waved hello to for years – half I didn’t know and a lot of people have come up and thought I was a statue,” he added with a chuckle. I’ll miss my friends in Mexico and interfacing with the public for all these years. But I have a birthday coming up in February, Ground Hog Day I’ll be 77. Seven’s always been a good number for me, and I figure a good year to retire.
“As far as a plan,” he paused with a grin. “I’ll figure it out.”