Ranch At The Rim
The Peña family’s western values and retail savvy make for memorable shopping at their famous store in San Antonio.
Photography: Kathryn Jacobs/Courtesy Ranch at The Rim
San Antonio. The historic Alamo and its sister missions. The scenic River Walk and thrilling theme parks. Here, deep in the heart of Texas Hill Country, there’s no lack of attractions that treat visitors to the true spirit of the Lone Star State. Among these special places is Ranch at The Rim, San Antonio’s most popular shopping destination — and not just for well-dressed Westerners.
Benjamin Peña, who owns and operates the store with wife Selina, has an idea why it’s such a popular place. “Ranch at The Rim is located in the heart of Western country,” he says. “We are fortunate to be able to supply the necessities for the everyday Western lifestyle, as well as offering luxurious one-of-a-kind items for those special occasions.”
In other words, right goods, right place. We caught up with Peña to talk about Westernwear, the rewards of retail, and the secret to his store’s success.
Cowboys & Indians: Why is San Antonio the right location?
Benjamin Peña: The Western lifestyle is a long-standing tradition for San Antonio and the Hill Country. Ranch at The Rim is honored to participate in this tradition by offering cowboys what is needed for ranching and by offering cutting edge trends to another segment of our customers. San Antonio has differing views and demands of Westernwear, and we try to find the right mix for the store.
C&I: Tell us about your and Selina’s backgrounds in the Western lifestyle and, more importantly, how you two met ...
Peña: I was born and raised in Muleshoe, Texas. My mother was a schoolteacher and administrator for 35 years. My father was a cattleman from birth. Small-town rural life was a much more simple life. Hard work and strong parents helped us all to develop strong Christian character.
Selina was also born in the Texas Panhandle in Amarillo, Texas, and grew up in Hereford, Texas. Selina’s mother and father owned and operated a local retail store. When Selina was the age of 8, her family relocated to McAllen, Texas, to open Western retail stores in the Rio Grande Valley. We met at a family wedding in Victoria, Texas.
C&I: What do you appreciate most about working with your wife?
Peña: We are able to set our personal and professional goals with a common understanding. Then, with God’s grace, we work together in every aspect of our life. We respect each other’s experience and knowledge, which is absolutely necessary when you work together as much as we do.
C&I: You take special pride in fulfilling unusual requests, such as the one made by a customer who wanted The Bohlin Company’s commemorative John Wayne Red River buckle made of solid gold. You worked directly with Bohlin to make the custom buckle happen. What are some other special requests?
Peña: Several times a year, we are asked to host a special shopping experience for a conference being held in San Antonio; we especially enjoy hosting out-of-town guests attending corporate functions in our city. Often these are first-time visitors to Texas, so we roll out the red carpet and treat them to private shopping, refreshments, and entertainment. We meet so many people from other parts of the country — and even other parts of the world. Everyone wants to return home with a souvenir from Texas.
C&I: You also offer what is essentially a concierge service ...
Peña: To Selina and me, all our guests are important. We developed the Elite Customer Care program to reach out in an individual, personal way to someone once they have left our store. We send thank-you notes and follow up on many of our sales. Through the Elite program, we know what brands these customers are interested in following. We do not believe in massive marketing campaigns, where everyone gets information about everyt-hing. In contrast, we ask what a customer is interested in, what type of communication they are comfortable with, [and] then we develop a method to suit their preferences. We reach out to customers in our personalized Elite Customer Care program and find it to be another level of our services they have come to expect.
C&I: In addition to providing personalized service to your customers, you also give back to your community. What are some of the local causes that are important to you?
Peña: We offer merchandise and monetary funding to many organizations, a few of which are the American Cancer Society; Hill Country women’s shelters; Hill Country Daily Bread Ministries; San Antonio and Boerne, Texas, education benefits; and Teen Challenge and support groups.
C&I: Ranch at The Rim has a reputation for blending Western fashion with Southern hospitality and Texas pride. What, to you, is Southern hospitality?
Peña: Living the Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Treat everyone as you would want to be treated. I believe Southern hospitality is centered on these two commandments.
“Texas pride,” on the other hand, is about being proud of our community and what it stands for — hardworking men and women raising the next generation of Texans with solid values.
C&I: What’s in store for the future?
Peña: God only knows. He has brought us this far in our personal and professional life. We trust Him with our future, as well. The store has evolved since our opening in 2008, and we are always challenged with new opportunities.
The Well-Dressed Westerner
Benjamin Peña, owner of Ranch at The Rim in San Antonio, lives, breathes, and works the Western lifestyle. We asked him about his store’s top brands and his idea of the well-dressed Western man and woman.
For her: “We find that most of our female customers are looking for trends and unique clothing,” Peña says. “They do not want to see the same fashions each season; they want a fresh start to each season. Similarly, they are brand-conscious and remain loyal to their favorite designers. Accessories are an important and fun part of pulling together a polished look. Consuela handbags are the hottest thing right now — we cannot keep them on the shelf.” Other top brands for the ladies? 7 for All Mankind jeans, Double D Ranch and Tasha Polizzi shirts, Stetson hats, Lucchese and Old Gringo Boots, and Dian Malouf and Rocki Gorman jewelry.
For him: “Whatever outfit makes the guest comfortable and confident is our version of well-dressed,” Peña says. Men generally go for the classics: Lucchese boots, Wrangler and Cinch jeans, Acorn and Scully shirts, Stetson and Resistol hats, and The Bohlin Company and Clint Orms Engravers & Silversmiths belts and buckles. For fancier occasions? Robert Graham shirts, S. Cohen suit coats, and Sunset Trails bolos. — S.S.
For more information, call 210.319.3001 or visit www.ranchattherim.com.