Bethany Clough

Retailer Ariat to open first store in Fresno, plus Madewell opens at Fig Garden

Ariat plans to open its first brick-and-mortar store in Fresno. It sells jeans, boots and tops like these pictured here.
Ariat plans to open its first brick-and-mortar store in Fresno. It sells jeans, boots and tops like these pictured here. SPECIAL TO THE BEE

It’s not often a national company decides to open its first brick-and-mortar store in Fresno, but that’s exactly what Ariat is doing.

The new store in Fig Garden Village will hold its grand opening Friday, Nov. 11.

You may be familiar with the brand Ariat (pronounced AIR-ee-ott) from its clothing, cowboy boots and work boots carried at Boot Barn, Work World and local stores like Roxanne’s Birkenstock.

“We make products for people who live their lives in boots and jeans,” says CEO Beth Cross.

That includes people who have never set foot on a ranch buying Ariat’s fringed ponchos and long-sleeve T-shirts with rodeo images on them. The company also makes clothes for people who ride horses – both western and English style – such as riding breeches and boots. Steel-toe work boots for people working on job sites round out Ariat’s products.

They’ll certainly see things first, no doubt about it.

Beth Cross, Ariat

The Ariat store will open next to Lululemon. Another store, Madewell, the store full of classic American clothing, has opened a few doors down in Fig Garden Village. More on that store in a moment.

For Ariat, the Fresno area is a strong market because of its agriculture and thriving FFA membership, says the CEO.

But the Fresno store is also a laboratory for Ariat to put all its products in the hands of customers and get immediate feedback from them, Cross says. Typically, stores here that sell Ariat carry only a subset of what it carries.

“For the first time we’ll be able to put all of our products on display and show the customer what we do in terms of footwear, apparel, outerwear, denim and accessories.

“They’ll certainly see things first, no doubt about it,” she says.

Ariat will test certain “technologies” with Fresno customers like its U-Turn Entry System for boots with a flexible panel that makes it easy to pull the boot on or off.

The store will offer perks like a tabletop lasso roping game, free boot shines on the weekends and dog treats.

Madewell

A few doors down next to Starbucks, Madewell has opened.

The store is owned by J. Crew and sells upscale classics like jeans, sweaters, leather handbags and chambray shirts.

The jeans are the star of the show here in the middle of the store under a neon sign that says “The denim bar.”

And here’s where the store does something the world needs more of. For every woman who has wished that women’s jeans could be sized like men’s, with waist and inseam measured in inches, Madewell does this – mostly.

The jeans sizes are in inches around the waist, so Madewell carries sizes 24 to 32. The jeans are mostly the same length, but Madewell offers free hemming. The store sells tall and taller lengths online (along with maternity skinny jeans and other clothing online).

Madewell also veers away from the low-rise jeans that can let a little too much hang out in favor of mid- and high-rise jeans. The rise ranges from 8.5 inches to 11 inches.

The jeans cost around $128.

You can get $20 off by bringing in an old pair of jeans to recycle. Madewell sends them to a place that turns them into insulation for houses.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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