If you’ve lived in Lafayette for awhile, you’re probably familiar with Ranch Outlet and Southern Style Outfitters – two incredible retail stores known for fantastic customer service. Acadiana native Courtney Castille Racca operates both of these stores, and she is passionate about providing a fun shopping experience for her customers. After a conversation with Courtney, it’s clear why these shops are so loved within the Acadiana community.
What is the origin story of Ranch Outlet and Southern Style Outfitters?
“Ranch Outlet is a family-owned business. My dad opened this store 14 years ago. He is very much into race horses and wanted to provide a place where people could find products for horses, cattle, farming, and the western lifestyle. Eventually, I took over the store, and I will one day inherit it from him. So, that’s how Ranch Outlet got started.
Southern Style Outfitters – the boutique side – was a project I started. I was homeschooled and had worked in Ranch Outlet since I was 15 years old. When I turned 17, I opened my first little boutique inside of Ranch Outlet. It did well, so I made it a bigger boutique which is now Southern Style Outfitters. I’ve always been big into fashion and into style, so I was excited to try running a boutique. When I opened the boutique I was just giving it a try, but I ended up loving it and I’ve just stuck with it.”
What sets your locally-owned stores apart from the chain stores?
“For both Ranch Outlet and Southern Style Outfitters, I would say customer service is what sets us apart. We’re a tight-knit family store, and the service we provide reflects that. Also, as far as Ranch Outlet goes, we offer so much. We’re more than just a ranching store. We have gifts, we have pet items, we have products for your ponds…we have literally anything you could possibly think of. That definitely sets us apart from the chain outdoor stores. And then at Southern Style, our customers are treated well and waited on. You can have someone help dress you, which is service you won’t get if you shop online.”
What have been some of your favorite moments during your time running these shops?
“Just like with anything you do for a long time, your customers become almost like family. At Ranch Outlet there are customers who come here and remember me as a little girl. And, in my boutique, I have customers who have shopped with me since I first started when I was 17. Of course, a lot has changed since then. I’m married now and have three children, but my customers have been with me through all of those changes. When my customers come by the store, it’s like being with a good friend.”
I also really like just being able to do something fun to encourage our customers to continue to shop with us. We recently just did a giveaway at the boutique. I like to be able to give my customers something nice for shopping with me for so long.”
What are some of the things you do for the community through your business?
“At Ranch Outlet, our favorite times of year are the holidays. At Christmas, we have Santa Claus come and we do cookies with Santa for the kids. At Easter, we have the Easter Bunny come, and we also have baby rabbits and chicks. The holidays have been a main focus ever since my parents started Ranch Outlet. We love being able to have something here for families to enjoy.
Also, we love to give back to the community through donations. There’s a special needs school right up the road from us, and we do a lot with them. Last year we donated a big metal trough to the school so they could build a koi pond for their kids. Also, a big event we do for the community is our annual ‘Dog’s Day Out’ event where we wash dogs for $10 each, host a bake sale, sell hamburgers and hot dogs, and then we donate all proceeds plus two tons of dog food to local rescue shelters. We love opportunities like those where we can give back to the community.”
What are your dreams for the future of these shops?
“Honestly, I just want to keep these businesses going. It can be hard to stay in business with online businesses popping up everywhere, but my main goal is to just keep these stores going. As I said, I have three children. Two of them are boys, and I hope that one day they can take over Ranch Outlet. This store was built by my dad, and it was a dream of his. So, this is definitely something we want to keep in the family as long as we can. Also, I have a little girl, so I hope that one day she enjoys the boutique as much as I do and and in the future it could be something she could own.”
When you shop at locally-owned businesses like Ranch Outlet and Southern Style Outfitters, you’re helping people like Courtney continue a beautiful family legacy. That’s just one of the benefits of shopping local! You can find Courtney’s stores, and other local Acadiana businesses, on Towny – your FREE resource for exploring Acadiana, choosing local, and building a robust economy. Find Towny online or on your phone!