OOne of the staples of the Main Street shopping district, Shawn Beach and her retail locations, Calamity Jane’s and Daisy Pearl, have long been setting the standard for not only customer service, but the trends and fashions that dictate success in a heavily competitive market. She and her husband, Bret, have followed a path from the rodeo circuits of the US to their corner location on Main Street, and as evidenced by 15 years in business, are focused where they should be.
Originally from Southern California, Shawn Beach was a real life cowgirl. She begins, “My Dad was in the cattle business and my Mom was basically a homemaker. I worked the business that growing up and driving a tractor until I was 18 and left for school. I was heavily involved in horse shows and rodeo throughout high school and into college rodeo team roping. My whole family was involved in the rodeo and it was a huge part of my life.”
Originally entering the Architectural Design School at Arizona State, Beach was also working in the architectural industry around the Phoenix area. With the challenges presenting by trying to juggle a growing career and college, Beach ultimately left college to continue her career as well as continuing her rodeo interests. It was here that she would meet her future spouse.
“I met Bret at the rodeo of course. He was a full time PRCA rodeo doing team roping. He was traveling all over the country and I would then travel with him. I still did some rodeo stuff, but he was at a very high professional level. It was great fun and we were traveling and we were young so it was a blast and we made some amazing memories. Much like me, he had grown up doing rodeo as well so it was all he knew.” They were married in 1987.
Quickly adding babies to their family with Kyle in ’89 and Kody in ’91, life of course slowed down for the family. “We were living in a Phoenix suburb with the babies. Bret kept doing the rodeo and was doing clinics all over the country but at the time we decided to buy a construction company. It was a water truck company for dust control on construction sites in Vegas when it was booming. However, Vegas was 6 hours away from our home so we moved here in 1988”.
The couple quickly realized that raising a young family in Vegas was probably not ideal, so they dragged out a map and began to chart a course for some new adventures in an area more suitable for their lives. “The boys were pushing school age and we knew we needed to get away. We knew some friends here in Boerne and we’d come visit them all the time and they kept telling me about the schools here, My family is originally from Texas, so we just said that this was the town for us and we were off.”
So in 1995, Boerne welcomed its newest family. She continues, “It was a small town then and was great for the kids and it was where we wanted to be. I got into real estate when we moved here, and I love real estate. It was a natural fit for me. Ralph Armstrong was my brokerage which was a small brokerage located by the Dominion. I covered the whole area and did a lot of stuff here in tow as well as south of here. Bret was still doing team roping clinics. He was doing a ton of them throughout the country so that was keeping him quite busy. We moved out to 46 and then we bought a place out by Cascade Caverns. There was nothing out there at that time.”
As the kids grew and the family became more and more connected in town, Beach and her long-time friend Andi Weekley began to hatch an idea for a retail store, which was something that Beach had never considered. “The retail store happened in 2004. Andi and I were good friends and we just kept talking about it, and I had gotten into interior design jobs here and there from my real estate business and I couldn’t find anything that I was looking for in these homes. So Calamity Jane’s was born.”
Quickly finding success, the store blossomed and had the both of them quite busy. Beach quickly bought Weekley out of the business in 2005 because “her kids and her life were getting so busy and it was just too much.” And so for the next 15 years, Calamity Jane’s was housed in a building across from the old Greene Bull Jewelry location on Main Street.
In 2009, Calamity Jane’s was moved into its current location, and Beach kept the old location to house her next concept, Daisy Pearl. A fashion retail boutique, Daisy Pearl was borne out of a small section of the Calamity Jane’s location that Beach devoted to fashion. “I had started with a small section of the store and people were really liking what we were offering. Over time it grew and became more and more popular. When I moved the store, I kept that location because it was a great location and I wanted to give the fashion a try. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
While Beach has been a fixture in the Boerne business community for years now, the challenges remain for this area. She explains, “It’s gone great for the most part, but make no mistake, retail is very hard these days. You don’t get a lot of hometown shoppers anymore, though we do get some, but it certainly has changed. Every retailer would tell you that it’s just a different animal nowadays.” And, as every resident knows, growth has been a huge factor. “Boerne has been great to us. There’s been so many changes that have come on in the past 15 years and it looks so much different than it used to. It’s almost that the town is so crowded that locals don’t even like to come downtown anymore because it’s so hard to get anywhere. The traffic on Main Street and the traffic on I-10 that would bring us customers can be so awful and it impacts our bottom line.”
As Boerne has changed, so has the business mix in the main district along Main Street. Beach explains that the vibrancy of the area has improved, and it has brought in a new population of people. “For a long time, Main Street was really 95% retail. It worked, but you only went to Main Street to stroll the shops and maybe pick up a few items. Recently we’ve had the Cibolo Brewing restaurant and brewpub open up and it’s been wonderful. They are a great attraction and have increased the foot traffic all throughout the area. Now Tusculum Brewing is open and they’ve also helped. It’s been wonderful to see the great dynamic mix of restaurants and bars that have opened in the past 15 years. I wish them all great success as their success helps mine as well. A long time back, this section of Main Street wasn’t too busy and Bear Moon was the big draw. Now we have a lot of places people want to visit and it’s just been wonderful for all of us.”
That foot traffic is but one portion of Beach’s business. Custom furniture is a large portion of her services she supplies, and business continues to be good. She continues, “I do tons of custom furniture. I do in-house consulting and we’ll design and furnish the entire house. I’ve done more houses than I could count in Cordillera Ranch, Anaqua Springs, and really all over San Antonio. A lot of the projects right now are in San Antonio. People come in and say that they like what we’ve got here and we are able to work closely with them. The consulting is a major part of what we do. Some are little, some are big, but that’s what keeps us going as far as not having to rely on the people walking in the door. I love the entire process of designing the houses. I just like putting things together.”
However, as we all know, running a business in a fast growing but still smaller community is never easy. Beach explains, “Staffing is easily the hardest part of this business. It’s beyond difficult to find qualified workers in town that want to work. Mix in the fact that we are open 7 days a week, and that’s a lot of hours I have to staff the building and it’s just an endless struggle. I do have my daughter in law Maci doing our social media accounts, and I’ve had Amy Myers and Anna Floyd that have both been with me going on 8 years now and are invaluable to me. Dee Bohnert and Gayle Shussler are also key team members. But it’s always been a struggle. I’m here 7 days a week. My kids are grown, and my husband Bret has always been so supportive. I have to be here to make it work, so I do what I need to do.”
And outside of the store, Beach does a lot. An avid lover of the outdoors, Beach can frequently be found on her horses as she has been enjoying her entire life. Her husband Bret has a very successful ranch sales business, and her children Kody and Kyle are frequent visitors with their new families. Beach’s passion for her business, and her life in general, can be seen all around her. Beach finishes, “This has been so very much fun. I’ve had days where I’ve sworn it all off and wanted to run away just like everyone, but I’ve always come back and have found such great joy in doing this. Who knows what the future holds for myself or for the store, but I’m have just as much fun as the day I started and I hope to be here for a long time.”
by Ben Schooley