Tyler Hawkins was just a kid when he sank into the comforting softness of a family friend’s leather sofa. There was a wrap-around feeling of security — like something that wasn’t going away anytime soon. Pulling it all together were tactile experiences of a smooth coolness beneath his skin and, of course, the distinct leather smell that’s beyond duplication.
As noted, he was just a kid, but the impression went all the way to the soles of his boots. It stayed there as he grew into a man. It stayed as he traded boots for a bigger size, and it stayed as his boots tramped through life.
“I spent my adult life driving trucks, drilling water wells, and working in the Texas and Pennsylvania oil fields,” Hawkins said. “I grew up in agriculture with livestock, and that’s still my parents’ way of life.
“I started rethinking a lot of things when the most recent oil bust hit. There’s nothing out there that’s certain, but the oil fields are influenced by so many details that I can’t control. It doesn’t matter how hard I, or other individuals, work; we can’t stop it if oil heads south. Besides, I no longer felt challenged, and I don’t like that.”
Hawkins began studying how to buy a business, combing through the computer listings for a year. He’s hard-working, single, no children. He’s 35 years old and unafraid of a challenge. He’s bored with oil field life, and his skin prickles with a sense of new adventure. He scrolls down the computer screen and stops at a listing: The Ranch Arrangement in Denton, Texas.
Sitting up a bit straighter, Hawkins reads about the leather furniture pieces offered at The Ranch Arrangement. Everything is made in the U.S., with top quality hides in timeless styles and designs.
A kid jumps up from an old leather sofa and runs to Hawkins at the computer. There was that smell he remembered, with the softness and the coolness, and the delicate age lines carved by family members burrowing into the leather. There was the automatic agricultural connection. It felt like home.
Hawkins put in four months of due diligence and closed on the business by the end of May 2021.
Did he feel anxious? Wasn’t there a lot he didn’t know about running a business? Had he thought far enough along to know if he would keep things the same or explore changes?
The hard-working young man is solid. “In my opinion, looking someone in the eye while you’re having a conversation is just as important today as it was 100 years ago. Mike Rowe once said something like, ‘don’t chase your passion, take your passion with you.’ Remembering that helped me a lot.
“I feel like I’m home (at the store). There are the bare-bones basics. I open, and I close. There is furniture coming in and furniture going out. Historically, the available styles and designs at The Ranch Arrangement were very rustic and western, representative of ranch life.
“My customer base is 50-years-and-up, with most of it being up. I want to keep it, but I also want to reach out and include the younger crowd like my age. I look forward to working with interior designers and real estate agents who are doing a lot of home staging. There is a tremendous building wave going on and that’s definitely in our favor.”
How does he propose to do these things?
“It will all take time, but I plan to keep the rustic western feel while incorporating some transitional softening into the styles and designs. I want to blend in some contemporary. In other words, we’ll keep our present audience, but we’ll expand it to encompass more tastes and preferences. We’ll be modern ranch.”
The Ranch Arrangement has 6,000 square feet of show space. A large portion of that footage is divided into spaces-within-a-space, allowing for eclectic room vignettes that encourage customers to see the potential for furniture, rugs, artwork, and other accessories in their own homes.
“We’ll never be a Nebraska Furniture Mart,” Hawkins said, “and that’s fine by me. We’re able to order just about anything, and many items can be fully customized. We’re still going to be distinctly Western, but we’re going to broaden the definition. The way I see it, our leather upholstery benefits the cattle industry, we repurpose old lumber to make new furniture, the wool rugs we sell helps ranchers, and recycling plastic to make trending rugs aids the overall environment. I like those things about this business. And, above all else, we’ll focus on quality products and customer service. A wise CEO once told me, ‘If you can learn customer service, you’ll do just fine.’ That’s been a motto of mine ever since.”
The moral of the story? Sometimes, those early impressions grow into something very exciting. Obviously, this one did.
940.565.5800 | TheRanchArrangement.com | 1200 Fort Worth Dr. • Denton, TX 76205
photography by What’s That Guy’s Name? | PHOTOGRAPHY BY GUY T