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New furniture from the Old West

Chris Olsen, owner of The Ranch Rustic Furniture and Home Decor, on the showroom floor at 6429 S. Crosstown Expressway. Photo by Carrie Robertson Meyer/ Third Coast Photo

When Chris Olsen migrated with his family from Illinois to Texas more than a decade ago, he never imagined his career path would lead him to owning his own business. But after a few years of working in the rustic furniture trade, he found a product worthy of his passion.

“Each piece is handcrafted and unique,” said Olsen, whose home in Victoria also houses rustic decor. “No two pieces are ever alike.”

The furniture in Olsen’s shop is high-quality, 100 percent Brazilian pine, all natural and easy to maintain. In a style evoking the Old West, dining chairs are covered in cowhide, and headboards and dressers are carved with Lone Stars, which is why Olsen named his store The Ranch.

“We have many clients who live out in the rural areas like Mathis, or even as far as Kerrville, who are interested in this type of look for their homes out in the country,” Olsen told Corpus Christi Living. “But we also have clients here in Corpus Christi who want the feel of the country inside their city homes.”

For Olsen, the road to The Ranch was as rugged as the old cattle trails. He first worked for several years as a service manager at a car dealership in Chicago. An economic downturn in 2004 led Olsen and his family to move near his wife’s relatives in Victoria. His sales experience helped land him a job in a local shop specializing in rustic furniture. There he found success and and a love for the product.

Olsen had high hopes of buying the store from his employer one day. When it was sold to someone else, he was devastated.

“My father had passed away a year before, but all of our family knew what was coming and we had accepted that,” Olsen said. “When the store that I helped to grow was sold to someone else, it was like a hard blow that hit me worse than my father’s death because I had put all my hopes and dreams and my family's future in my plans to buy the business.”

Olsen had to rethink his future. Although other paths were available to him, his knowledge and passion for the rustic furniture trade eventually led him to start his own company. He learned the nearby city of Corpus Christi had a multitude of furniture stores, but none sold strictly rustic. Olsen decided to venture into this untapped market.

“I actually went on the internet and found a 10-step guide to starting your own business,” Olsen said.

He developed a business plan, which he took to be reviewed at Del Mar College. After getting the capital and proper licensing, he opened the doors of The Ranch in September 2015. He has since moved from the original location to a bigger space where he can expand at 6429 S. Crosstown Expressway.

Helping with the family business are son Nathaniel and daughter Adra Olsen. His wife, Cassandra, helps promote the store on social media.

The Ranch buys its products directly from distributors in Pueblo, Mexico, which enables Olsen to pass on the savings to his customers. Unlike other local furniture stores, which stock some pieces in the rustic family, The Ranch has furnishings for the entire house — from the living room to the office. It even carries towel holders for the bathroom and accessories such as key holders, salt and pepper shakers and whiskey holders with shot glasses.

"Quality is what customers can expect from our store, not just in products, but also in the service they will receive," said Olsen, who provides clients with a wood care kit to go with their new furniture.

The Ranch is located at 6429 S. Crosstown Expressway, Suite 102, in Corpus Christi. For more information, contact (361) 335-6302 or theranch7681@gmail.com. Visit theranch.cc to get a feel for how you can bring the comfort and style of the Old West into your home.

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