Cal Ranch is a little like Mom’s vegetable soup: it’s loaded with all sorts of goodies and surprises. At Cal Ranch, you will find a wide variety of merchandize, however, not everything is edible. The store does happen to sell some candy and animal feed, though.
Cal Ranch opened in Flagstaff on March 1 and nearly every day since then, the store has been busy. Located on Fourth Street near 7th Avenue, Cal Ranch sells ranch supplies, clothing, knick-knacks, fishing and camping gear, tools, automotive supplies, saddles, guns, power tools and cowboy/girl hats.
In what was once a vagrant-infested eyesore of a building on Fourth, now stands Cal Ranch. It used to be a Kmart, and home of Price Chopper Foods. Now, many area business owners and city leaders are hopeful the chain store out of Idaho will help resurrect the Fourth Street corridor, which used to be a central shopping area in Flagstaff.
Over many years, the district lost some of its luster. In the last few years, however, many locally operated businesses have moved into the neighborhood with a vision to prosper and make Fourth Street a great place to shop once again.
“I think it’s wonderful. I do think it’s an asset to the neighborhood. It’s bringing in a lot of different people to Fourth Street who may not have come over here before,” said Michele Roberts, owner of Purl in the Pines.
Jake Lowe, general manager of Cal Ranch, says he has been thrilled with the public support for his store. “We are helping to revitalize this area, we like the neighborhood and I think we all will reap the benefits of having us located on Fourth Street. We’re so happy with all of the attention we’ve been getting,” he said.
“The residents in the area and other businesses have already greeted us with excitement. We’ve had small rancher customers tell us they have been waiting a long time for a store like ours,” Lowe added.
Steve Saville, community design and redevelopment manager with the city of Flagstaff, says Cal Ranch’s move to Flagstaff will bring some much-needed energy to the area.
“The economic activity that Cal Ranch Stores will stimulate in the Fourth Street commercial corridor will be reminiscent of when Kmart and Safeway were housed in the same shopping center. In addition to the 34 jobs created at Cal Ranch Stores, they have become a badly needed anchor tenant attracting a whole new demographic to the entire Fourth Street area.
“The City of Flagstaff has worked hard with the land and building owners to secure an anchor tenant for the old Kmart building. The city’s Economic Development Division helped mitigate the complicated historic land and building ownership issues for a multitude of opportunities on this site over the past ten years. Upon receipt of the permit request for the Cal Ranch stores, our Community Development department worked diligently with the contractor to expedite the necessary improvements needed,” Saville said.
Lowe says the company spent $750,000 on interior renovations. Among other things, the company contractors had to paint the interior and exterior, replace the heating and cooling system, repair a leaking roof, install a new façade and pour a 2.5-inch concrete floor.
“It was worth all of the effort. Flagstaff fits our demos with the type of merchandize we sell. Our mix of products is not comparable to any other in the city,” Lowe said.
“I think we’re encouraged by the partnerships that are being formed and efforts the city has put in, and Cal Ranch is part of that puzzle. They greatly improved the façade of the building and are helping to make Fourth Street a shopping destination once again,” said Sharlene Fouser, owner of Confetti’s.
”We‘re grateful that they’re willing to take on a building that no one has been willing to take on for a long time. Bit by bit, Fourth Street is coming alive, and it takes the community to revitalize the area. This company came in and brought new jobs and we are appreciative they saw value of being on Fourth Street and wish them luck,” Fouser said. FBN