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Newhall owners rustle up Western goods

Couple opens storefront to build on online shop success

Posted: August 26, 2009 10:07 p.m.
Updated: August 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Out West owner Bobbi Jean Bell displays western designer shirts by Rockmount Ranch Wear at her Newhall store on Tuesday.

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Bobbie Jean Bell and her husband, Jim, are bringing a little bit of the West to downtown Newhall.

With a "soft" opening on July 25 and a grand opening today, OutWest offers everything from high-end Western clothing, arts and crafts and music.

The couple have been running an online store for the past two years.

"We basically made our online store into a storefront," Bell said.

Located on Main Street between Market and 6th streets in a roughly 1,000 sq. foot space, OutWest is packed wall-to-wall with all manner of Western merchandise.

Clothing and leather goods take up several racks, shelves are stocked with Western books, music and DVDs and local artwork adorns the walls. Several shelves are chock full of Western knick-knacks, from mint cases and shotgun-shell light strands to coffee mugs and T-shirts.

"This business will continue to support Western history and culture; the myth and the reality," Bell said Tuesday.

The store is celebrating its grand opening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, with a schedule including a Native American blessing, book signings and live music by The Tumblin' Tumbleweeds. Jamie Lee Nudie, granddaughter of late Western clothier Nudie Cohn, will arrive with Nudie's lavishly decorated 1964 Pontiac Bonneville and sign copies of her book, "Nudie the Rodeo Tailor."

The trail to opening OutWest has been a gradual one.

The Bells moved to Southern California from New York in 1991, settling in Canyon Country in 1998.

Early on, Bobbi said they decided to volunteer at the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles.

"It changed both of our lives," she said. "We began to eat, drink and sleep the West."

In 1998 Bobbi joined the staff of the Autry Center, eventually becoming director of retail operations, a post she held until early 2007, when she was a victim of layoffs.

"I still have a wonderful relationship with the museum," she said.

Fast-forward to early this year, when the Bells were involved in running the Buckaroo Book Shop at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, hosting book signings by 19 authors over two days.

"We were meeting and greeting people all day long," she said.

That weekend, Bobbi said, was the impetus for turning their online shop into a brick-and-mortar store.

Setting up shop in downtown Newhall was a no-brainer.

"This area called to us," she said. "How can you not be next to the Walk of Western Stars?"

OutWest is located at 24265 Main Street. For more information call (661) 255-7087 or visit www.scvoutwest.com. The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday and open Monday by appointment.

"We're always open by appointment," Bobbi said. "If you want to see something I will most likely open the door."

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