Tip Top Western Wear
Location: Fort Smith, Ark.
Owners: Brothers Dan and Sam Wald run the day-to-day operations, while mother Larue, age 80, still works in the store from time to time. Other generations of the Wald family also work at the store.
What is the history of the business?
Tip Top Western Wear started out as Joe Wald’s shoe repair shop. Around 1980, the shoe repair shop bought out the Eagle Clothing Store next door, which until then was the oldest western clothing store in Arkansas. “We had to adapt,” said Dan, so the business switched from shoe repair to western wear.
What are the main products they sell?
If it’s western clothing, Tip Top has it for sale. “Right now square toed boots are the fashionable thing,” said Dan. Tip Top Western Wear covers about 14,000 square feet of retail space. Boots and hats line the walls, with racks of jeans, shirts, jackets and coats arranged in the store. “Not everything is in boxes and it’s arranged by styles with open displays,” said Dan. They offer products from the lower end of the price range, all the way up to $400 pairs of Justin full-quill ostrich boots. They also sell western-themed art, jewelry and children’s toys.
What makes Tip Top Western Wear unique?
One of the keys to Tip Top’s longevity is service. “What makes us unique is customer care,” said Dan. “We have a very large selection of boots in sizes all the way up to 15, and it’s hard to find 15s.”
Story and Photo by Roy Hill