You might have perused one of the King Ranch Saddle Shop pop-ups around town through the years or visited the mega booth at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Today, fans of the fine leather goods, fashions and furnishings emporium can mosey over to River Oaks Shopping Center any day of the week for a sampling of King Ranch merchandise.
After closing its branch in The Woodlands, King Ranch last week officially opened its 4,000 square foot store on the midst of one of the city's wealthiest zip codes. "We're testing it here and see how it works," says chief financial officer Bill Gardiner. "This part of town is new to us and we hope that this is a home run." The company has a lease on the space through 2017.
While not as large as the Kingsville mother store in South Texas, the highly-themed replica transports shoppers to a bucolic world far removed from the hustle-bustle of neighboring Brasserie 19 and Local Pour. Hardwood floors, antler chandeliers and ranch furnishings in yummy leathers set just the right tone to inspire pulling out the credit cards for boots, belts and bow ties made from feathers.
The shop is loaded with everything any rancher at heart could want including luggage and all manner of leather goods, dinnerware and flatware, western and hunting fashions for men and women, gun cases, knives, silver and turquoise jewelry. Status seekers will enjoy the fact that the Running W brand and King Ranch logo are on much of the merchandise. And, yes, you can order custom saddles.
Unlike the Kingsville store, there isn't a saddle-maker on site and the aroma of leather isn't overwhelming when you step into the River Oaks location. But the tempting goods are there. "We do a lot of craftsman work ourselves in South Texas with our own people," Gardiner said. "But for the most part our general manager Rose Morales, she'll go to California, Nevada and Colorado. She has sources all over."