Down in cowboy-centric Texas, Old Gringo chose Fort Worth for the site of its first flagship store.
The footwear company’s new location at the Stockyards Station outdoor shopping center features more than 100 styles of cowboy boots and other shoe styles, including in-store exclusives handmade by artisans in Leon, Mexico. Old Gringo said it owns and operates the largest handmade boot factory in the world, where shoes are produced in a 275-step process.
The expansion into physical retail has been in the works for more than a year. The store opening also coincides with the 22-year-old brand’s broader foray into lifestyle categories including apparel, handbags, belts, jackets and custom hats, founders Ernie Tarut and Yan Ferry said. The new store reflects Fort Worth’s history with Western displays, an in-house bar and a covered patio with views of a twice-a-day cattle drive of the Fort Worth Herd. Like others in retail, the company sees the store mixing commerce and hospitality, with the three-floor space eventually including the seafood-focused Old Gringo Grill in the coming months.
The brand, which was originally headquartered in San Diego, Calif., moved its headquarters to the Lone Star State in January.
“As one of the fastest growing cities, Fort Worth aligns with our entrepreneurial spirit and connects us with our love for the Modern West,” Tarut said at the time. “Relocating to Texas will benefit our accessibility, giving us a central point for distribution from coast to coast.”
Meanwhile, the family that founded Kansas City, Mo.’s Hyer Boots in 1875 is reclaiming ownership of the brand after a 45-year hiatus. The Hyers are now gearing up for an official relaunch in the new year and a return to producing cowboy boots.
The Hyer clan said founder and entrepreneur C.H. Hyer first developed the silhouette for the cowboy boot that’s become a Western style staple for close to 150 years. Company ownership was passed down to relatives for generations until Nannette Hyer Bohl and husband Ford Bohl sold the Hyer brand in the 1970s.
“My great, great grandfather is credited as the inventor of one of the most recognizable representations of the American West—the cowboy boot,” said CEO Zach Lawless. Entertainment brand and media company Teton Ridge, which puts on equine sporting events, invested in Hyer and will help to restore its standing in the Western space, with Lawless thanking the company for its “great resources to drive our business forward.”
“Hyer Boots is the original cowboy boot company, born and grown in America, and designed with purpose,” added Emily Castel, Teton Ridge chief brand and creative officer, pointing to its “tradition and heritage for a new age, fueled by technology and continued innovation.”
Hyer plans to launch a new line of cowboy boots in 2023, after debuting some of the new styles at the 2022 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge in Las Vegas early this month.
Western styling has gotten a boost from celebrities including Beyonce and Lil Nas X helping to popularize fringed leather jackets, cowboy boots and ten-gallon hats. Hit TV shows like “Yellowstone” and box-office films including Jordan Peele’s “Nope” also tap into evolving notions of the Western aesthetic.