ALADDIN, Wyo. (AP) — A big part of a small Wyoming town sold at auction for a price lower than expected.

Aladdin is home to 15 people near the South Dakota line. Up for sale Friday were the town store, liquor license, post office, gas station, a two-bedroom home, an outbuilding and a seven-unit mobile home park.

A 17-acre (6.8-hectare) tract also was included in the package bid of $500,000 by Maynard Rude and son Lee Rude of Piedmont, South Dakota, the Casper Star-Tribune reported (


Another bidder bowed out at $490,000, leaving the Rudes with no competitors.

“We obviously didn’t think it was going to go this cheap. I was thinking at least $750,000 to $800,000,” Lee Rude said.

Owners Rick and Judy Brengle also expected a higher price.

“I thought it would probably start there instead of end there,” Rick Brengle said. “It was an absolute roll of the dice.”

A cafe and motel offered separately by another couple failed to sell after a few bids.

The store, considered one of the best preserved of five surviving Wyoming roadside mercantiles, was built 125 years ago when a nearby coal mine supported a town population of about 200.

The mine closed, but the store remained a popular stop for ranchers checking their mail, tourists headed to Devils Tower National Monument, and bikers rumbling to the huge annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Pearl Jensen, 84, has greeted customers at the town store for more than 40 years and worked for the Brengles more than 30 years.

“I just feel like I’ve tried to put it in God’s hands,” Jensen said. “If I’m still going to have a job, that’s fine, if not, that’s fine too.”

Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune,