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2017-05-18

Hill Country Outdoor Store opens doors to one stop shop for all outdoor needs

By Sandy Jennings BCC Staff Writer

After months of curious drivers slowing down to stare at the immense 12,000 square foot red building being erected at 6150 State Highway 16 South, in between Bandera and Pipe Creek, the Hill Country Outdoor Store has officially opened its doors and will celebrate a community Grand Opening this Memorial Day Weekend on May 27, from 8 am to 5 pm, with great deals, food, giveaways, vendors and live music.
The much anticipated celebration comes after owners Casey and Emily Hauer took over DKL Enterprises in August 2016, with the intent of carrying on the business that the late Doug and Carol Livingston built starting back in 1988, in a small metal shed on Main Street in Bandera.
“We changed the name, sold the building and moved the business out here (6150 Highway 16 South) because I already owned the property and it’s more visible,” Casey Hauer said. “The business was struggling, so we revamped it in order to grow it, including adding more products and services.”
Hauer had a vision and a plan for his new store, which was renamed Hill Country Outdoor Store (HCOS).
“I have a vision of a one stop shop outdoor store; not a Bass Pro, which focusses on fishing or a Cabela’s which caters to hunters--I want this to be more everyday usage products and services for everyday people that may need a mower, work boots, a weed-eater, clothing, a chainsaw and the list goes on,” Hauer said.
In fact, the list of products and services offered at HCOS seems endless. Staying true to the original lawn equipment repair business, HCOS offers small engine repair (two stroke and four stroke), tune ups, oil changes, engine overhaul, blade replacement, blade sharpening and factory warranty service. They carry a full line of factory parts including Hustler, Ariens, Husqvarna, Echo, Atlas, Skag, Shindaiwa and Gravely.
“We service everything we sell and also all other brands,” Hauer said. “We are a warranty service center for Home Depot and Lowes. For instance, if you order a mower online from HomeDepot it’s delivered here and we assemble it and deliver it for Home Depot.”
Besides repair, the store sells Hustler, Ariens and Skag Zero Turn Mowers, Ariens walk behind mowers, Shindaiwa trimmers and chainsaws and Gravely Atlas JSV utility vehicles.
Under the leadership of Shop Manager Ricci Vanbibber, Hauer expanded the store’s services to include truck accessories sells and service.
“Another big part of our business that we are just opening is a full three-bay full service truck accessory business in the back,” Hauer said. “We sell equipment from name brands including Ranch Hand, Frontier, Fabtech and WeatherTech.”
Services include grille guards, lift kits, custom wheels, tires, side steps, window tint, tool boxes, gooseneck hitches and custom work.
HCOS also sells utility vehicles like the class-leading towing capacity and heavy-duty suspension, the Atlas JSV, along with fun recreational ATVs like the Arctic Cat Wildcat. Behind the store, customers can test ride vehicles on the rugged three acre Test Track.
ATV and UTV repairs offered include tune ups, oil changes, engine overhaul, accessory installation and factory warranty service.
Hauer, an entrepreneur and well known family man, cleverly planned out his winter months, knowing there’s not a big demand for mowers in the Texas winter, he diversified the store’s inventory to include personal items such as clothing, footwear, and accessories and a unique approach to hunting season including a one-of-a kind indoor archery range and Archery Pro Shop.
“The clothing was an afterthought, honestly, that (points to room) used to be the parts room and we tore the wall out before we finished building it,” Hauer said. “I feel like if I needed boots or jeans I would have to travel to San Antonio’s Cavender’s or Billy’s in Boerne and I made it a point to price the same items at a lower price.”
HCOS features shoes and clothing for Men, Women and children form brands including Ariat, Twisted X Boots, Cinch, Huey, Cactus Ropes and White Label Jeans, to name a few. Besides clothing and footwear, the store features belts, wallets, caps and jewelry. A special vendor includes J. Forks custom designed jewelry, who is known nationally for her turquoise and leather creations and is leasing one of the back buildings of the HCOS to manufacture her jewelry locally.
After entering the massive showroom at HCOS, a rustic cedar and tin staircase welcomes archery enthusiasts to an upstairs one-of-a-kind archery range.
“There’s nowhere locally that offers an indoor archery range and pro shop,” Hauer said. “We have a projector that projects an image onto the target to shoot and you can bring your own bow and we can tune it in our Archery Pro Shop for you or you can try the full line of bows and arrows we have here.”
The in-store Archery Pro is certified and can restring bows and help customers with custom cut arrows to fit their “draw length.” The Archery range is open and ready for customers to practice. The cost is $5 for 30 minutes with a traditional target.
“I’m testing the waters with the archery equipment before I commit to carrying firearms,” Hauer said. “We look forward to customer feedback. We want to make this a store that has something for everyone in the community and provides a fun experience.”
Hauer, who grew up in Bandera, enjoys his family life with wife Emily and children Colton (10), Brynleigh (7), Natalie (5) and Finley (1). Former Bulldog soccer player, he enjoys volunteering as a youth soccer coach, a volunteer at the Castle Lake Fire Department and as a Deacon at the White Rock Fellowship Church. Before the HCOS, Hauer’s main business ventures included rental property and his air conditioning business Texas Airmen located in Helotes.
HCOS is a family owned and operated business with Hauer’s mom Lesa Campbell serving as Office Manager and family members Jeanie Backor, Garrett Hauer and Cody Morris serving on the team.
Store hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am until 6 pm and Saturdays 9 am to 5 pm. Check out the Hill Country Outdoor Store’s Facebook page for weekly specials. For more information about Hill Country Outdoor Store and its Grand Opening on May 27, call 830-796-7456, or visit their website at www.hillcountryoutdoorstore.com.