If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience, you might consider a visit to the Harsh Mercantile in Purdum.
The Harsh Mercantile has been around since 1899. "The Cox family started it, the Moody family married into the Cox family, and it's been in the family ever since," part owner Mike Moody said. "We try to have as much modern supplies as we can to keep everybody going."
Even though the store offers all sorts of modern supplies, it still feels like you are stepping back in time to an old general store when you walk in. "We are 60 miles from any larger city in any direction we want to go. We are sitting here on some crossroads, and it's a good location. The people we deal with everyday are just good old Sandhills people that you can't beat," Moody said. "95% of our business is ranch or farm clientele from the immediate area." Moody says what makes up the immediate area could be up to 50 miles in any direction.
"We carry fencing supplies, well supplies, feed, bolts, hardware, tanks," Moody said. "We try to have everything they need on the ranch. We do have some groceries. We have sandwiches. Nothing gourmet, but something to get people through the day."
The Harsh Mercantile also has a table in the middle of the room, where people tend to stop and visit for a while. "We have a morning coffee crowd about 7 a.m. Mid-morning we have a pop crowd, and then through the rest of the day, you never know when the crowd will be," Moody said.
The mercantile also used to be a store and bank combination at one time. You can still see the room where the bank used to be housed. The teller windows are still there, as is the old safe. However, the room is now used solely for the mercantile business. The bank has moved a couple doors down.
Moody says he enjoys his customers. "It's awful easy working with good people," he said. If you are ever driving through Purdum, be sure to check out the Harsh Mercantile.