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SBDC @ Mesalands Community College

ROPES Western and Casual Wear was launched when Rita Chaparro of Clayton, New Mexico, purchased the business. When the owners of the only western wear store in the community decided to close its doors, Rita (an eleven-year employee) was determined to not let that happen. In purchasing the store, Rita preserved this signature business and its traditions of service to a community where ranching and western heritage flourish.

Rita’s family offered their cattle herd as collateral to secure the purchase, and ROPES Western and Casual Wear was launched. Her family is fully vested in the success of ROPES. Rita also credits her staff with creating a positive and welcoming experience.

With management practices based on listening to customers and staff, Rita has improved inventory to offer more of a variety and affordable brands in clothing and gifts. Sales have exceeded the original projections. Offering to partner with local businesses and school organizations, customers get discounts for work clothes and uniforms. Rita feels providing extra services such as tuxedo rentals for proms and weddings is vital due to the remote location. Support to local fairs, rodeos, and high school athletics ties ROPES to all segments of Union County.

Rita has proudly obtained her American Citizenship. She also retains a love for her Mexican heritage and language.

“Vicki Watson guided me through the purchase process of my business. She worked with me for a year insuring the paperwork and financing were in order. She is always positive and uplifting. She is still willing to help me in any way and I feel that I can call her whenever I have any questions. I am forever grateful to the SBDC’s help and support.”

Rita has been honored by The Clayton Chamber of Commerce as “Rookie of the Year”, and now serves as a member of the Board for the chamber. She is praised for making all customers feel welcome and at ease at ROPES. Future plans include a strong presence on the internet to better serve her rural customers.