Tis the Hunting Season
What a hoot!
The bubbly, tall blonde operates Horne Ranch Company, one of the only stores along that stretch of U.S. Highway 67 past Ballinger.
You can find everything from deer blinds and hunting equipment to jewelry, food, cookbooks and furniture at the shop.
Horne, 30, could be called a pioneering woman of the 21st century.
She’s not afraid of taking chances. She has been known to wear husband Lanham’s cowboy boots. A few times a year, she goes rattlesnake hunting.
Perhaps it is not surprising that she decided to open a store that blends home décor with hunting. After selling real estate in Coleman for several years, Horne decided she wanted to be in the retail business.
The store opened in November 2002 — she counts the years she has been open by the hunting seasons.
The store carries ranch-style chic home décor, including rustic kitchen hutches, couches, coffee tables and sofa tables. She also carries prints by Western artists Chris Owens and Tom Ryan, and a style of “horned” furniture that is made in Texas.
The rustic, wooden ranch-style furniture fits well into the lifestyles of the customers who have left the city and moved to a ranch out in the country.
“My customers who come from the city like the ranch style because it makes them feel like they are living the true life of a cowboy or rancher,” Horne said. “It takes them back to the way life may have been, and it is trendy.”
Most of her customers are weekenders or hunters who come from Midland and Odessa, and Coleman County. They also come from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, San Angelo, Abilene and nearby Ballinger.
Horne said she opened the store to supplement her family’s ranching income.
“This is a way to keep the ranch alive,” Horne said.
Horne hails from Hamilton, where she was raised on a ranch.
She calls herself a pampered rancher’s daughter, but those who know her would not agree. She tries to meet the needs of her customers, and can still sell real estate, if the need arises.
“I keep my license up, just in case,” Horne said.
This time of year, deer hunters stop in regularly and buy corn, pick up a feeder or buy hunting gear.
Those who shop at Horne Ranch Company usually don’t make a quick stop, either. They hang around to talk about the latest news or the latest products or to see Horne’s 13-month old baby, Jackie.
“It’s like a bar without alcohol,” Horne laughed. “We talk about everything.”
Nearby neighbors have been known to pitch in to help her when she can’t be at the store.
Mary Tibbetts of Voss visits regularly, to talk about family, swap recipes and buy her favorite peach butter.
When Horne had her baby last year, Tibbetts helped out.
“I had the baby on a Tuesday and was back at work a week later,” Horne said. Tibbetts “is one of my favorite customers, and she comes in and takes care of the baby when I’m working.”
Linda Wright, who lives just a few miles away, also comes in to help.
“I have loved this place since the first day I came in,” Wright said.