August 31, 2022

 

 

River and Ranch will carry everything the outdoorsperson needs from clothing to tools. Rifles are also sold in the store.  Photos by Kate Thurmond

 

River and Ranch Provisions

Mesquite Creek owners open hunting, fishing store on the Square

By KATE THURMOND

Those searching for an outdoorsy retreat near the Square can now visit newly opened River and Ranch Provisions. 

The store sits just past the corner of Austin Avenue and Sixth Street behind Kilwins and officially opened its doors August 27.  

The venture is owned by long-time friends Cody Hirt and Brad Strittmatter — who also own Mesquite Creek Outfitters — as well as Sam Johnson and Tim Carr. 

“The idea has been in the works for a long time,” Mr. Johnson said. “Everything in here is all our passions — fly fishing, hunting, being outdoors in general. We knew we all wanted to work together, we just needed a location.”

He said they tossed around possible locations for the past couple of years until one day Mr. Hirt showed them the empty space behind Kilwins, which used to hold a law office, and they knew it was right.

“There’s just nothing like it on the Square,” Mr. Strittmatter said. “We thought this was another piece of the puzzle down here.”  

While the store does sell hunting rifles and select guns, Mr. Hirt wanted to expand its offerings. 

“It’s so much more than a gun store,” he said. “It’s more of an outdoorsman-and-women store.” 

The name was meant to reflect the catch-all nature of what the store provides to said outdoorsman. 

“Everything in here can be for your day on the river to a day on the ranch,” Mr. Johnson said. “Everything from what you wear, the axe to cut wood, a rod and fly to catch fish, and a rifle to go shoot.”

Mr. Hirt said they didn’t want the store to have the same feel as the average outdoor store. 

“Sometimes you go into those stores and they’re just cold,” Mr. Hirt said. “There’s no environment.”

news photo

The taxidermy mounts at River and Ranch Provisions were donated to the store by friends and local hunters. The white buffalo greets customers as the enter the store.

To combat this, he said they included a fireplace and an area to gather, to encourage shoppers to sit and tell stories. The store is also decked out with hunting trophies, including a large stuffed white buffalo, which was donated to them from the family of a friend of Mr. Hirt’s. They also have a fireplace mantle built from the 500-year old oak tree that used to sit in front of First Texas Bank. 

“We have a lot of unique stuff in here you can’t find anywhere else,” Mr. Hirt said. 

This includes the offerings they have for sale. River and Ranch Provisions is the flagship store for the brand Ball and Buck. The store will carry Swedish and German-made axes, which Mr. Hirt and Mr. Strittmatter discovered while setting up a Mesquite Creek location in Idaho. They also work with Living Waters, a locally based fly-fishing store.

“We want this to be a really unique place where people can come and find things they’ve never found before,” Mr. Hirt said.

The group also wants the store to be a place where the layman can come for an education as well — in fishing, hunting and outdoor equipment in general.   

“We grew up in the outdoors, that’s how we built bonds with our dads and our grandads,” Mr. Carr said. “It’s important to provide that feeling for someone who has never touched a fly rod or held a gun, to the experts who know exactly what they want. It’s really important to us that everyone who walks through the door gets the same experience.” 

The group envisions hosting classes for those wanting to learn more about outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, as well as private events for those who want to rent the space. 

“We care about the community, and we want to educate people,” Mr. Hirt said. “Sometimes the scariest things are things we don't know or understand. If we can have some classes in here to show people how to do things safely, then that's what we want to do.”   

They hope to start these classes in the next two months, covering topics such as how to harvest meat from an animal and trip-specific tips like how to camp in Montana. 

The store celebrated a grand opening Saturday with venison tacos and beers. Their storefront is located at 815 South Austin Avenue. Classes will be posted on the store’s social media when they are decided.