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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

SHEPLERS: "More than a TRUSTED Name"


When my son Austin and I walked into the Sheplers store located in San Antonio, Texas, his eyes open wide as he exclaims, "Wow.  Dad, this is some store. It's Huge." He was exactly right as Sheplers is the worlds largest western wear retailer.  They were around long before his generation or even my own.  The business roots date back to 1899 even before the late Harry Shepler was born.  

Harry Shepler grew up in Wichita becoming a ranch owner in Piedmont, Kansas before he bought out J. W. Gibson Harness Shop that was located in Wichita on North Main. He renamed it "Harry Shepler Saddle and Leather Company." Harry and his wife Hazel perhaps never envision the growth of the business, but Harry operated it with fair principals and core values that continue today in the legacy of Harry Shepler.

Through the decades, the business has grown in every concept except one. They simply reduced the name to Sheplers, Inc while their quality merchandise and service takes no short cuts in customer satisfaction. Even their guarantee that began with Harry's handshake remains today as part of those core values.  "If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, simply return it for a refund or exchange. It's as easy as that," states  Jessica Atherton, Digital Merchandiser at the corporate office.  

The enormous selection of western wear is unsurpassed in the western industry!   They proudly carry a huge selection of the world's best-known western brands. Selections of Wrangler, Levi, Cinch, Aura, Miss Me and Silver jeans offers an array of denim jean sizes, colors and comfortable fits for horseback riding, working and playing.

When it comes to boots, be it for dress, casual wear or work, their varieties include Justin, Lucchese, Ariat, Tony Lama, Corral, Durango, Nocona, Old Gringo and Stetson boots. In fact, they maintain over 40,000 pairs of western boots in their warehouse alone just for the catalog and on-line orders at to virtually fit any size foot! 

The store also carries a superb selection of shirts to skirts, Hats, outerwear and accessories catering to men, women and children.  Then you'll even find an array of western wedding dresses and home d├ęcor – everything you need to enhance your western lifestyle can be found at Sheplers! 

Sheplers catalog and on-line sales ship nation wide and internationally for over 25 years to most countries.  UPS and DHL are available in many areas, although government regulations, will not allow shipment of exotic skin boots to some countries.

Bob Myers, Sheplers CEO states "it’s all about the Western lifestyle and being the retailer of choice,” during an interview with Retail Merchandiser online publication.  Myers is determined to maintain Shelpers’ sense of quality while expanding on its customer service tactics through social media marketing. Although, e-commerce and social media are not new tools for Myers. He launched $2 billion websites for both JC Penny and QVC before being appointed to Sheplers as CEO.

The best advertising for any business is a happy customer that share's their experience. Today, modern technology allows Sheplers to spread the word while listening to their customers too using social media tools such as personal emails, Twitter or Facebook. It enables Sheplers to promote sales, special events such as celebrity visits to any number of their stores and updates on the latest products being offered.

Social media is merely one of many tools Sheplers uses to market, though they continue using many newspaper or magazine advertising medias. However, Myers understands even one more important media to any business. The foundation through Team Work as every employee is a reflection of the business and Sheplers Handshake service to customer satisfaction.  "Integration of up to date information while being innovated is both exciting and imperative to have his employees migrate towards the customer experience," explains Myers.

Sheplers hosts several contest, promotions and give-a-ways throughout the year. Some locally and others internationally as they follow rules and regulations governing these promotion.  On January 15th during National Hat Day, Sheplers seize the promotional opportunity awarding five Western Hats, one to each randomly drawn contestant who would write Sheplers why they needed a hat. The promotion ran for a week announcing the winners the following Monday morning reading on the Sheplers FACEBOOK fan page; "Congratulations to our National Hat Day Cowboy Hat winners: Roger Edison, Justin S, Glinda Vaughn, David Lakey and Jennifer Fogarty! We sent you an e-mail with details. Thanks to everyone that shared a story!" 

I'm sitting at my Computer drinking Coffee reading many updates as I view the Sheplers Contestant winners.  "Wow, that's my name. I won a hat."  I felt excited because it is awesome winning a prize.  Although, shopping at Sheplers picking up a new crisp Shirt or wearing the shine of a new pair of boots has always left me feeling good about myself too. I like businesses who take time for customers without standing over them. I enjoy up-dates when they are not tying me up with too much information.

I asked Sheplers if they would allow me to share the stories of each person who won. They replied that while the names of the winners is public knowledge, the stories would require each participant to authorize sharing outside Sheplers. Although, they would be more than happy to forward my email to each of the winners if they care to publicly share what they wrote to receive the hats.  I personally like and respect how they professionally offered this opportunity to me while maintaining the privacy of their customers. 

A few days later, I began receiving emails from most of the participants and thought I'd share them: This first hat awarded was too David Lakey, although I did not receive his story.  

Second Hat Story: The College Student:

Justin S.  is a full time student and customer of Sheplers recently purchasing a pair of dress boots from the store. In brief, he wrote "My hat story, well, I don't really have one yet. Being a full time working student, I don't have a lot of money to throw around, so that may take a while. It would be great if you guys picked me as one of the five, because that would give me a chance to start collecting my hat story."

Third Hat Story: Once Upon a Time, I Ripped my Pants:

Jennifer Fogarty
Jennifer Fogarty from New Jersey wrote this cute funny story.    "I don't have a cowboy hat. Though I'm a huge lover of Sheplers and your boots since my friend told be about your web site a year ago. But I thought maybe this story might make me worthy of my 1st Cowboy Hat!

Years ago I was given a mare who ended up being pregnant. She had a lot of trouble with her pregnancy and ended up passing away about a month after her colt was was born. We named the colt "Bebe". We raised Bebe, bucket feeding him all day and night. We loved him and it didn't take long for us to realize that Bebe was not like other colts. He was VERY trusting and had a huge personality! When it came time to "break" him he was like a dream! It was almost like he had been doing this his whole life. He walked and jogged the 1st day and seemed to really enjoy himself. The second day he was at a walk, jog, and lope with no problem! The 3rd day however is when the "problem" came. I had went to the barn that day just to visit with the horses. Not intending to ride I wore a pair of sweat pants and sneakers. Leaving my jeans and trusted boots at home. Some of my friends were riding so I decided to take Bebe for a little ride in the field. This field had very tall grass with a plowed trail all around the outside. Bebe and I started on the trail at a walk, then a jog, then a lope and then I just let him go. You could tell he was having as much fun as I was and right as huge smile hit my lips a bird popped out from the tall grass. Bebe went to look at the bird and not being use to having a riders weight on his back he tripped over his young horse lanky legs. I went flying over his head but my sweat pants got stuck on the horn of the saddle and ripped right down the middle. So I sat on the ground with my spunky little horse looking down at me wondering what I was doing with my pants around my ankles. I got back up, unhurt, and had to wrap my sweat pants around my waist like a skirt and walk back to the barn. As I walked I was cracking up and Bebe I think thought it was pretty comical too! So did everyone who was at the barn. Its been about 11 years, Bebe just turned 13 in December and still acts like the same goofy colt he used to be. He is often seen chasing the other horses with sticks, a bucket, a brush, anything he can get his mouth on or playing with one of our wild turkeys, and I to this day have never ridden a horse without a good pair of jeans and boots! I think a hat would make a nice addition to my look: Thanks for reading this story about this goofy horse and his very embarrassed owner.

Forth Hat Story: Single Mom Can Dance

Glinda Vaughn
Glinda Vaughn shared a nice email with me about being born in Corpus Christi, then raised in Victoria, Texas. Today home is in the Dallas-Ft Worth Area where she got a new hat in time for the big Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.  Her story was;   "Being a single mom having raised 3 kids, we went through some very tough times. So a couple of years ago I started thinking that it was time for momma to get out and be active again in the dating world. I started country dancing and love it! Now all I need is to find a good man! Maybe a new hat would help me find one!"   She added that she had received her hat stating, "It's a really pretty Black Hat. I feel very blessed that they picked me."

Fifth Hat Story:  "For What's a Cowboy without his Hat"

IF the Tin Man could have a brain, or the Scare Crow could have a heart.
The Lion have some Nerve,   then a Cowboy needs his hat? 

When a man's an empty kettle,  he should be on his mettle, 
but the cowboy on his horse,   must be wearing a fedora of course. 
"For what's a cowboy without his hat." 

Just because I'm presumin...that I'd be more than just a Human
If I could Cowboy unlike a rat..holding my head high in my hat.  

Folks may see my trophy buckle....maybe view my boots,
But a Cowboy without his hat,  is merely just a chuckle and never showing his roots.
"For what's a cowboy without his hat."

Yeh, it's sad, believe me, Missy, No hat to be worn looks sissy
Without the vim and verve but perhaps the wide brim would build some nerve
If I only had a hat...If I only had a hat....for what's a cowboy without no Hat.  

To locate the nearest Sheplers store or order on line,  as they will be happy to assist your western needs. I've always been very pleased with the merchandise and have many friends who made compliments about the appearance of the store front to the clean friendly atmosphere inside the store. Each always satisfied like myself. I'll continue following Sheplers on Facebook too. Not just for the contest, but staying up to date on great sales, promotions and the first look at new products.   Beside, it's also about new friends and Sheplers is far more than just a trusted name. 

Story by Roger Edison

Austin wearing his Daddy's Hat from SHEPLERS

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