BUSINESS BUZZ: Southwestern flair comes to Reed City

Online shop reaching demand for rodeo clothing

This article is part of Business Buzz, a series designed to feature small businesses that make a big impact on the community. Participants featured will include all the locally-owned businesses that make up the fabric of Osceola County.

REED CITY  — A style popularized and perpetuated by the American southwest is making its way to Osceola County, one cowboy hat or belt buckle at a time.

A large part of this recent local trend can be attributed to H Star K Rodeo Apparel, which opened for business in May.

Heather Trapp said the idea to sell rodeo apparel came about after she and her friend and business partner Kristy Brandt attended the National Finals Rodeo last December in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
After she noticed a consistent demand for rodeo clothing in the area, coupled with virtually no supply, H Star K Apparel was born.

“We enjoyed the clothing and the Western apparel look, but there’s nowhere around here to buy any. You have to go to Grand Rapids or you go online,” Trapp said. “It’s getting bigger and bigger now that more people are starting to understand that we’re around.”

For Trapp and Brandt, this realization was a no-brainer, and one they chose to take immediate advantage of.

“Everyone else dresses like that around here, so we might as well figure something out,” Trapp said. “It started in May and we just kind of went from there.”

For the time being, H Star K will be an online shop that is being facilitated out of Trapp’s home, which Trapp said he prefers to trying to find a proper storefront.

Trapp said that all has the potential to change and that she and Brandt would someday like to have a small shop in downtown Reed City they could be the proprietors of.

“It’s an online platform at this moment in time until we can find a storefront that’s smaller in size,” Trapp said. “We don’t need the overhead of a large store.”

Recently, the girls from H Star K Apparel have visited some local craft shows and, during the summer, they can be seen at rodeos selling and displaying their merchandise.

Trapp said opening the online store has been a mostly positive experience with only a few difficulties popping up along the way — many of which have been experienced by small-business owners since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The biggest difficulty right now is getting product in the store with all the shortages — I know everyone is getting sick of hearing that; there’s shortages everywhere,” Trapp said. “You can order something and I won’t get it (until) three months later.”

Even though it’s a trend small-business owners would like to see come to an eventual halt, Trapp said it is also something that her customers have grown accustomed to.

To Trapp, having patrons expect delays to shipping and product availability has become an unfortunate, but accepted reality.

“After a while, I think people — sadly — are getting used to it,” Trapp said. “We definitely do better with in-person sales than we do online.”

H Star K Rodeo Apparel sells Western-style bags, wallets, hats, jewelry, vests, jackets on its online store, which can be found at: https://hstarkrodeoapparel.com.

One can also reach out to Trapp or Brandt via the H Star K Rodeo Facebook page.