A true "mom and pop" store in the Sandhills is marking a big milestone, and owners hope to keep the family-owned business going for years to come.
Ranch-Land Western Store was started by Mort and Louise McBride in 1959 in a different building than where it is now. The store now resides in a 100-year-old building on main street in Ainsworth. The store has been operated by Mort and Louise McBride's son Joe, and now, his daughter Rhe'Ann is very much involved with the business.
"The best part of all this has been working with the families and the people," Ranch-Land owner Joe McBride said. "My family, including my sisters have all worked here in the store. Many of the families that started shopping with us in 1959 still shop with us today. We are seeing third and fourth generation customers, and if they are a customer, then they are also a friend."
Rhe'Ann McBride, who is the granddaughter of the original owners, decided to return home to help with the business. She had gone to college and had left Ainsworth. "I didn't think I would come back," she said. "But we had a fire here a few years ago, and we had to clean out the entire store. Everything was gone. At that point, we thought it might be the end. But we had customers asking when we would re-open, so we thought this was something people really valued. I moved home to help with the store." Rhe'Ann says she has helped to add variety to the store with more women's clothing, and more on-line sales. "We have also started doing a lot of leather work. We do a lot of purses, and people are finding out about that on Facebook or Instagram," Rhe'Ann McBride said.
Joe McBride says he's happy that his daughter has returned to Ainsworth to help with the business, and Rhe'Ann says it's important for young people to return to smaller communities. "I feel like small towns are the heart of the state. I want to honor what we've done for the last 60 years, but I also want to help our business grow."
If you want to help celebrate Ranch-Land's 60-year anniversary, the public is invited to a supper and street dance just south of the store on Saturday, August 24th at 6 p.m. The McBride family would love to see you there.