By Joel Hillan

WATKINS, Colo., (CBS4) – The community of Watkins came together to celebrate a local business that has been operating for nearly four decades. Owners and founders Mike and Kath O’Malley have been running O’Malley’s in Watkins for 39 years.

While the size and layout of the store has changed through the years, customers appreciate what hasn’t changed.

feed store 5 Small Colorado Town Celebrates Family Owned Store

(credit: CBS4)

“The one thing that has not changed is this family. They are genuine and loving and helpful and always smiling with friendship,” said Bonnie Damschen. She has been coming to the store for 15 years.

For 25 years Kath and her three daughters ran the business almost exclusively while Mike did other jobs to help keep the store going.

feed store 4 Small Colorado Town Celebrates Family Owned Store

(credit: CBS4)

“We all worked here, this was our first job. We all worked here through high school and college and some of us came back after college to work here for a while before we moved on to different careers,” said Kaitlyn Westendorf, with her two sisters Mary O’Malley and Erin McArthur at her side.

“I always have said that girls can out work boys any day of the week and they can and they do,” said Mike talking about his wife and daughters.

And now, a third generation is getting old enough to work at the family store too.

feed store 1 Small Colorado Town Celebrates Family Owned Store

(credit: CBS4)

“It feels like home. You walk in and your family is all there and it’s just cool to see them all here,” said Kreighton Westendorf, one of the grandchildren working at O’Malley’s.

feed store 2 Small Colorado Town Celebrates Family Owned Store

(credit: CBS4)

The O’Malley’s took the opportunity to say thank you to the community on St Patrick’s Day, but what was clear is what they have meant to the community.

“They are so much a part of the community, they know your kids name, and they know your grandchildren. They know what’s going on with families; whether it’s poor health whether it’s the joy of a newborn, they are right there with everyone,” said Damschen, adding, “It just means that they are a part of our family as well.”

“Mom and Dad would have never thought they would have made it to 39 years,” the girls said. “I’m proud of them.”

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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