Arizona naturally has a western edge to its culture, but in the urban setting of Downtown Phoenix this can oftentimes be lost. Sarah Stokes of Ranch Road Boots is determined to change that one pair of boots at a time.
Ranch Road Boots is a rapidly growing company with a down-home feel, staffed full time by Stokes and her dog Skillet. Their boots are made in Texas – ensuring that each pair has a little of that Texan heart and soul stitched right into them – but their operations are based out of Levine Machine in downtown’s warehouse district.
“Downtown Phoenix is small but mighty,” Stokes proclaims. “It’s the coolest downtown and maybe one of the United States’ best kept secrets.”
Her customers live across the United States, and Stokes came up with an innovative way to bring them the luxury of a custom fit and style in the comfort of their own home.
Stokes created a “fit kit” that she sends to customers where they are able to watch a video and read a guide on how to measure their feet to ensure a perfect fit. The kit also includes swatches of leather for the customer to choose from, ensuring the boot is exactly what the customer wants.
“These boots are beautiful, wearable and as at home in New York City as West Texas,” Stokes said.
Each pair of Ranch Road Boots takes roughly 12 weeks to be completed from the start to finish, and comes with a sterling silver nail on the inside of the left heel. Stokes said that it is a reminder that you are wearing a serialized pair of boots handmade just for you.
“Ranch Road Boots proves classics don’t have to be boring or purely utilitarian,” Stokes said. “Our leathers, craftsmanship and customer service is second to none.”
And as boot buyers know, if you want serious boots you’re going to pay a fairly serious price. But hey, that’s the cowboy way.
For those who are lucky enough to live in the Valley, you can visit the mobile Boot Saloon at special locations that change frequently. To find the next stop for the Boot Saloon, follow @ranchroadboots on Twitter for updates.
As Downtown Phoenix expands so do the various culture scenes within it. One that has experienced growth is the fashion industry. Within just the past few years, locals have taken it upon themselves to enrich the world around them with a focus on fashion.
The growth is in large part thanks to the educational programs that help develop the creative industry. Although Phoenix isn’t home to famed design schools such as FIDM or Parsons, it is the home for Phoenix College, which houses an exceptional fashion program for those looking to take a dip into the pool of fashion design.
The students who go through the program can thank Sylvia Phillips, instructor and chair of applied technology and family & consumer sciences. Phillips came to the college when it only offered a few fashion courses, and saw that students were interested in learning more, which drove her to enhance the fashion design program.
“It [the program] has changed a lot. We have added a lot of courses and our enrollment has grown a great deal,” Phillips said.
For a student to receive a degree they must successfully complete the two-year program of rigorous classes as well as complete an internship or a portfolio class. Phillips said, “When they complete the program they should be able to design and work in a costuming business as a costumer.”
Those who do not directly begin their fashion career often choose to further their education, with many Phoenix College graduates attending Parsons or the Fashion Institute of Technology after they complete the program. Phillips said she often hears from past students and loves to hear how they have furthered their careers.
“Our students are very diverse, very talented. They have a passion for fashion,” Phillips said of the roughly 300 students she sees each semester.
Although Phoenix College is not the only school to offer fashion design programs, they do believe they have something special to offer their students.
The program educates students in fashion design, pattern design, fashion illustration, apparel construction and costuming. Students learn various techniques first-hand, as well as they have the opportunity to work with some of the latest technology in computer-assisted pattern making and fashion design to further enhance their experiences at the college.
The students are also surrounded by fashion in their classrooms. Phoenix College has a fashion closet that has grown over the years thanks to donations from various donors, including the Phoenix Art Museum, that have helped to grow the collection to over a hundred items.
Here’s hoping the fashion closet grows, much like the program itself.
Angels Trumpet Ale House announced this week that it will be featuring local homebrewers as part of its Saturday, September 15 Grand Opening. On hand will be Uptown Phoenix residents and award-winning homebrewers, Scott Brady and Marco Hernandez. The two will brew a five-gallon batch of beer while providing information on how you can join this growing hobby. The brewers will begin setting up their equipment at 10 a.m. on the patio and should be mashing grain by 11 a.m.
Angels Trumpet would like new brewers to drop by, learn, watch, ask questions and take breaks inside for beer. Brady and Hernandez will also be able to recount their experience brewing one of their beers commercially, so there is plenty of things to discuss for veteran brewers too.
Both brewers are members of the Arizona Society of Homebrewers (ASH), the largest homebrew club in the country. Last October the brewers were awarded Best of Show in the 2011 ASH Oktoberfest for Seaside Rendevous, a malty rich California Common. The pair were able to brew their beer commercially at Odell Brewing in Ft Collins Colorado on Doug Odell’s famous five-barrel pilot system. This spring, the beer debuted at Moto on 16th Street and Glendale.
As the President of ASH, I can tell you that these guys know their stuff and are happy to engage you about the hobby. I’ll also mention that the 2012 ASH Oktoberfest Competition has the very same prize–an opportunity to brew your winning batch at Odell.
Featured taps for the Grand Opening include Firestone Walker’s Double DBA, New Belgium Brewing Peach Porch Lounger and the much anticipated, and already scarce, collaboration between Alpine Beer Company and New Belgium Brewing called Super, an India Pale Ale. And finally, Odell Deconstruction, a gorgeous Golden Ale with wild yeast and lactobacillus, which gives it a funky-tart character.
Who knows? You might even see a fellow with a hat and sideburns tending bar that afternoon.
If you go:
Event: Angels Trumpet Ale House Grand Opening
Where: Angels Trumpet Ale House, 810 North 2nd St.
When: Doors open at 11 a.m., homebrew demo from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Contact: 602-252-2630 firstname.lastname@example.org
Retail shopping in downtown Phoenix has no doubt improved in these past few years. One fashionable hot-spot helped start this trend and is now celebrating its fifth anniversary this Friday – and you’re invited!
Bunky Boutique, owned by Rachel Malloy, is a contemporary boutique on 1st St. and is filled with customized T-shirts and tanks, luscious body products and enough jewelry to last you a lifetime.
The boutique has recently has launched branded specialty items, including shirts and necklaces. But Rachel isn’t done with unique products yet. Friday night she is debuting a brand new Bunky lip gloss that is made especially for herself and her shoppers.
Shopping in this modern yet timeless boutique is special not only because of the products they offer, but also because of the personable staff available to help you.
Make sure to stop by during First Friday to check out the latest products, cake and champagne will be served while you shop. And don’t forget, everything in the store will be 20% off!
Cheating has impacted D-backs more than any other team.
First it was Manny Ramirez and then it was Ryan Braun. Performance enhancing drugs have haunted the D-backs like the NBA has conspired to keep the Suns away from a championship – according to Suns fans of course.
Last week, Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for testing positive and admitting to using testosterone. Cabrera was enjoying a career year and those resurgent numbers were evident in the games against the D-backs. He has collected big hit after big hit against Arizona and the rest of the National League.
Cabrera could potentially win a batting title, despite the suspension, with numbers that have far exceeded his career averages. There is no question that Cabrera’s enhanced performance contributed to the overall success of the Giants and helped them reach the top of the NL West standings. Doesn’t seem fair that the D-backs are once again one of the main losers in the fight against PEDs. One can only hope that the window is now open for a D-backs run and they’ll take full advantage of it.
It’s now or never time
The week began with the D-backs only 4.5 games behind the division leading Los Angeles Dodgers and four games behind the second place Giants. The D-backs had a golden opportunity to gain some ground with the Dodgers and Giants squaring off in Los Angeles, while the Marlins were in Phoenix for a quick four game series. Quick, because it included the first ever day-night doubleheader at Chase Field on Wednesday. After dropping the first two games of the series, things were starting to look desperate once again. Especially considering how the game was lost on Tuesday.
The D-backs came out hot, looking to atone for the embarrassing loss the night before. The D-backs were up 5-0 after one and looked poised to cruise to an easy victory. Unfortunately, the Marlins got right back in it and chipped away until they finally grabbed the lead and held on for the win. The double header may have been fun for those in the stands, but for the guys in the home dugout, it was definitely make or break time. The D-backs had to sweep the double header just to come away with a split in the series. Fortunately, that’s what happened. Tyler Skaggs got the win in the afternoon game making in Major League debut. All-Star Wade Miley threw another gem in the nightcap. Leave it to two rookies to step up when the team needed it the most.
While the D-backs were struggling to stay afloat, there was a flip flop at the top of the standings. The Giants swept the series in Los Angeles to grab a 2.5 game lead over the Dodgers and the D-backs dropped to 5.5 games back. The D-backs still have time to gain some ground on the home stand with three games against San Diego and Cincinnati before heading off to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. The D-backs can control their own destiny in many ways because they still have five games against the Dodgers and nine games against the Giants. They need to play well to stay in the race and dominate the head-to-head matchups.
What’s coming up at Chase Field?
August 24 – Faith & Family Night presented by Grand Canyon University; College Night
August 25 – Postgame concert featuring Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers presented by Miller Lite
August 26 – Bark in the Park; Daniel Hudson Growth Chart giveaway to first 5,000 kids courtesy of Arizona Milk Products
August 29 – Senior Day