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Western wear for the fashionista: Ranch Rules features novelty western items

On the west side of Broadway, Abbey Vogel sits in the middle of Ranch Rules, 313 Broadway Street, with her daughters, Piper, 8, and Lola, 5. Handcrafted, inspirational signs lean against huge vanities that display various other products, including shiny dishes and pieces of brightly colored jewelry.

“It’s a pretty young business,” said Vogel, the owner of Ranch Rules. “It’s been here a little under a year.”

Vogel graduated from college in 2000 with a degree in marketing. At that time, she worked at Jim Bell & Sons, buying inventory and managing the store. About a year ago, she discovered a store in Cottonwood Falls full of antique furniture with little business. She teamed up with the building owner and opened Ranch Rules.

“It keeps evolving and changing,” Vogel said. “It started off with what I really loved.”

Vogel said one thing that keeps people coming back is the novelty aspect of her products. People can come into her store to buy gifts for people they might not find in other places. She also offers wedding registry, something other businesses in the area don’t offer.

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To help manage an overflow of inventory, Vogel opened a Ranch Rules mini store, located down the street from the main location. The mini store is only open on Saturdays to help the street come to life.

“When people come to town, they want to be able to walk store to store and enjoy many places,” Vogel said. “I get so disappointed when you go to a small town and most of the businesses are closed or just empty space.”

Vogel said technology has made operating her business easier. Instead of a typical cash register, Vogel uses a tablet set up with a square system that helps monitor credit card processing.

She also uses Facebook and Instagram to promote products and has found that managing the store’s social media platforms could be a full time job.

Vogel said the best thing about being in business is the support she has gained from family and friends. After this year’s Flint Hills Rodeo in Strong City, Vogel walked her 86-year-old grandmother to the car. After talking about her long day at work, her grandmother looked at her and said: “As long as you’re enjoying everything you’re doing, you’re probably doing the right thing.”

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