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Dr. Bill's History

Dr. Bill's History



Bill and Joyce Chew lived in Hico, Texas with their 2 boys, Jimmy and Billy. Bill managed Knox produce store where they sold feed, produce, eggs, cream, and mohair. Bill met a man named Wayne Barham, who owned several businesses in town, including, Stephenville Produce co. and Barham Feed and Supply. Wayne offered Bill a job as manager at Stephenville Produce co. located at 211 W. McNeil St., which is now Ruby’s Bistro. Bill managed this store until 1965. During this time, produce sales started going down and Bill began tinkering with a few lawnmowers at the shop.

Bill had always worked on small, air-cooled engines most of his life as a hobby. In 1965, Wayne asked Bill to begin a partnership where Wayne sold feed and Bill worked on peoples’ lawnmowers. The feed store became a DeKalb dealer, supplying feed to local chicken houses. When the chicken market fell off, DeKalb moved out and the produce store closed. In 1966, Wayne and Bill split up the store. Wayne took the feed and seed store, and Bill took the lawnmowers and set up shop in the garden on Belknap St. where it remained until 1970.

In July of 1966, Bill’s Lawnmower Shop formally became a business, and the name was given by Wayne’s secretary, Helen Lockhart. When filling out the papers for Bill’s to become an official business, she just wrote down “Bill’s Lawnmower Shop” and the name stuck. Now that he was an official business, he would need some help. Jimmy Chew, the oldest son of Bill and Joyce, began to work at the shop after school to help his dad.

In 1967, Bill began selling the Ariens line of lawn mowers. He was the first dealer west of the Mississippi. At that time, Ariens only made walk behinds and small riding mowers. In 1969, Bill started selling the Murray lawn mower line. By 1970, Wayne bought the old Postons building, which is now the Stephenville courthouse annex, and Bill moved from the garden on Belknap to the new building. From 1972 to 1974, Bill’s Lawnmower Shop was the largest Murray dealer in the US. By now, Bill operated with Ariens, Murray, and Stihl until he dropped the Murray line due to mass retail at Walmart in the 80s. In 1974, Bill’s Lawnmower Shop became one of the first Stihl dealers in the state of Texas. 1975 rolls around and Bill moved back into the building on McNeil St. into the original building and operated out of there from 1966 to 2005. Bill’s stopped selling Stihl because they went to mass marketing in the early 90s.

Sadly, in 1996, Bill had to stop working at the shop due to health issues. Bill Chew passed away in 1997. His wife, Joyce, and his two sons, Jimmy and Billy, continues running the shop, even after Bill’s passing. In fact, in the 70s, both Jimmy and Billy went to work for the city of Stephenville but always continued to work at the shop. It was just the 3 of them running the shop until 2004. In ’04, Steve Thomas began to work at the shop to help out. Steve happened to be working at the fire station, where Jimmy was his supervisor as assistant fire chief. Steve ended up purchasing the shop in 2005 and became the new owner of Bill’s Lawnmower Shop. By this time, the shop had been in business for 39 years. Jimmy and Billy stayed for a few years to help Steve learn the ropes. The shop was also still carrying the Ariens line of mowers along with Ex-mark, Shindaiwa trimmers and chainsaws, etc.

2012 marked the 46th year of being in the building. However, the building was bought out by another company. Bill’s Lawnmower Shop moved due to the original location at 211 W. McNeil St. being sold and relocated to 2590 W. Washington St. The bigger building allowed Steve to grow the company. In 2015, he picked up the Gravely line and began to carry Maruyama weed eaters and trimmers. In 2017, he picked up the TYM Tractor line and became a Delco trailer dealer. Steve began expanding his advertising for the business in 2018 by going on the 95.5 KHits radio station.  On the radio, Steve explained to the radio hosts that because he worked as a paramedic, he could explain to customers how the engine worked by comparing it to the human body. Mike and Julie, the radio hosts, started calling him “Dr. Bill” because he was basically a doctor for small engines. Bill’s became an exclusive dealer for Ariens and Gravely, TYM, CFMOTO, and Maruyama by 2019. Bill’s lawnmower shop was one of the oldest Ariens dealerships, carrying the line for 53 years. Steve started selling feed and hay, getting back to the roots of the original store. Also, in 2019, The name changed from Bill’s Lawnmower Shop to Bill’s Outdoor Supply. In December of 2021 Dr. Bill’s Outdoor Supply relocated to its current establishment, 14767 S. US 377 Dublin, TX. Dr. Bill’s services, repairs, and sells a variety of outdoor equipment. They have also expanded into the livestock feed and supplies.

Bill’s Outdoor Supply has been a family-owned and operated business since 1966 and will continue to be family owned and operated for as long as possible. Steve Thomas (A.K.A “Dr. Bill”) has worked hard to keep the business afloat. Steve has many plans for the future of Bill’s Outdoor Supply to make sure Stephenville, as well as surrounding towns, will always have a place to go for their outdoor equipment needs.

Come see us!

 Dr. Bill MD/OES

“Mower Doctor/Outdoor Equipment Specialist”