If you see by your outfit that you are a cowboy, there's a new place in Payson that can help add to your wardrobe.
Cowboy Corral, which recently opened in Twin Pines Plaza on the South Beeline, doesn't look from the outside to be a formidable competitor to the much bigger Corral West Ranchwear.
But once you walk through the door, a cowboy wonderland awaits you.
"Our prices are good," says Karen Farley, who co-owns the business with her husband, Wes. "In fact, we can beat the prices of all of our competitors in town, pretty much across the board. We try to, anyway. And we also try to accommodate people try to do special orders for them, try to get things in if we don't have them. Oh, yes. And we're friendly ... really friendly."
Of course, shoppers can never get too much friendliness. But it's low prices for quality merchandise that survivors of the current economy are most interested in, and the Farleys have approached that truth from several different angles.
"We do a lot with closeouts so we can keep our prices down as far as possible, and we also bring in some used clothing," she said. "We're finding that a lot of people here in town like that concept. When they're tired of the clothes in their closets, or have outgrown them or whatever, they can come in here and buy some used jeans, or seconds or an irregular, without having to pay high-dollar."
Cowboy duds don't represent the sum total of merchandise available for purchase at Cowboy Corral. There are also handmade wooden shelves, gift items, and a number of other little surprises throughout the Old West-style store.
"And if Karen doesn't have it," Wes said, "she'll run it down for you."
The Farleys are former residents of the Valley, where they operated a Wild Bill's westernwear store in Chandler. Before coming to Payson last August, they ran their first incarnation of Cowboy Corral in Colorado.
"I wanted to move back to Arizona, but not back to the Valley," said Karen, who has 15 years of ranchwearstore experience under her cowboy belt. "We were torn between Payson and Heber, and decided that Payson was our choice, because it is a little bigger, with a little bit more to offer. And the local interest in horses and rodeo certainly was a plus, too."
To those who have bought into the fashion concept that the popularity of ranchwear is on the wane, Karen says, "Not at all. The customers aren't changing, but the clothing is. What the manufactures have done is to move away from the Western-style shirts the yokes and the snaps and stuff. They've gone away from that somewhat. Wrangler shirts, for example, now have a little bit more of a preppie look. And a lot of the pants especially the ladies' have gone a little away from the Western style to stretch pants, bell-bottom pants and the low-rise. So it's the styles that have changed."
That's not to say that cowboys and cowgirls are shopping as often or buying as much as they do in heartier economic times.
"The toll that's been taken on this market, I think, is the same toll that's been taken on everyone this year," Karen said. "But it's bouncing back to normal now. All you have to do is to keep changing with the times."
Located at 512 S. Beeline Highway, #4, Cowboy Corral will be open every day until Christmas. Normal operating hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas week only it will also be open Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 468-1283.