California native Bill Lockwood and his family moved to the South Bay from San Bernardino in 1973 when he was 12 years old. He started surfing that summer and has never stopped.
“I bought a surfboard for $20 at a garage sale and headed to Bluff Cove in Palos Verdes. I stood up on the first wave I took off on, with both feet facing forward! I got lucky. It was a huge, stable board,” he says with a chuckle.
Over the years Bill has traveled up and down the California coast and throughout Mexico, in pursuit of the ultimate surf adventure. “Everything washes away out in the water, and I feel at peace. There is a oneness that makes my soul happy.”
The retired landscape contractor and cowboy at heart has an equally strong affinity for the earth, which he attributes to his late mother. “My mom was responsible for my love affair with nature, animals and the Wild West,” he recalls fondly. “She was born in New Mexico and spent a lot of time in the Oklahoma panhandle. Her mother died during childbirth, and she was raised by her siblings in a barn hayloft. They didn’t have a car, so she rode to town on a horse with her pet chicken, Little Bit, in a saddlebag. When I was a kid she read books to me about the American frontier and sang Western folklore songs. She was a great storyteller.”
It was his sister Linda’s lifelong love of horses that eventually led the way to his new business undertaking. “Our family vacations were road trips, and because of my sister, we stopped at every pasture along the way to admire the horses.”
She has since operated Linda’s Feed and Supplies in Norco for the past 29 years, which she co-owned with their father until he passed away two years ago. When Lomita Feed Store went up for sale, it immediately piqued Bill’s interest.
“I helped my family at the Norco store on weekends in the past, so it seemed to be a natural extension of my family,” he says. “I always liked the store and felt it would be a shame to see it go away, so we [he and wife Jacqueline] bought it last year from the Gibson family, who ran it for two generations.”
The Lockwoods are the third family to own the store since it opened in 1927 before the Great Depression. While tradition will remain at the heart of the store, Bill has a new vision for it: a fusion of the Western spirit and the ocean. His inspiration is the paniolo Hawaiian cowboy culture, his affinity for the Old West and art.
“I want to blend my love of the land, ocean, animals and art with the aloha spirit and history of the community,” he says. Western tack will be expanded, and Western apparel will be added alongside English riding goods at the farm and pet supply business. A rotating consignment gallery is in the works to promote local artists, and some of Bill’s personal Western art collection pieces will be on display merged with surf memorabilia.
Jacqueline, an avid surfer with a doctorate in education, has enthusiastically started riding horses too with trainer Lori Barnett in Palos Verdes. Their two kids, Erin and Sean, attend UC Berkeley and Otis College of Art and Design respectively, and share their deep appreciation of animals and the ocean.
Bill passionately manages the day-to-day business operations with the family dog, Booker T., by his side. Though he hung up his riding spurs for a while before acquiring the store, he is back in the saddle again and there is always a surfboard in his truck at the ready if a perfect wave beckons.