People often use the adjectives funky and eclectic to describe south Austin. Things get a little weirder south of Lady Bird Lake, and that’s just how south Austinites like it.
Even if you don’t live on the south side, you may have a funky and eclectic taste in decorating your home. If that describes you, you need to check out Black Sheep Ranch. Owners Donny and Casi Houseman have managed to turn a 3-acre piece of property at FM 1826 and SH 45 SW into a shop epitomizing south Austin.
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“We try to keep the shop as eclectic as we can, and are still working on branching out more and expanding our inventory. We’re always looking for new and funky stuff so that people can find something new when they come back in. We get merchandise from lots of local vendors, have local art, go to flea markets to find vintage furniture and goods, have local salsas, jams, and other foods,” Donny told Austin.com.
Being called a black sheep isn’t something people usually take as a compliment. But with Donny and Casi, they’ve embraced the usually pejorative term.
“My wife and I are both somewhat of the black sheeps in our families. We had a ‘black sheep’ theme at our wedding and got matching black sheep tattoos (which later became our store logo) after we were married,” Donny said. “My father came into town to check out the land and somewhat jokingly said it should be called The Black Sheep Ranch. We thought it was a perfect and fitting name.”
The couple have long had dreams of living in Austin and owning a retail shop. But they didn’t always know this about each other.
“After working many unfulfilling jobs and talking to Casi about wanting to open a store, I learned it was something she had wanted for a long time as well,” Donny said. “We decided it was the right time to start our own venture together, especially since we wanted to start a family and have a mom and pop kinda store we could raise our kids in. We spent many months looking for a place for a store — not easy in Austin these days — and came across Bubba’s Country Store. We decided it was the perfect spot and developed a vision of the shop, food trailer park, and everything we could do with this land.”
The food trailer park is still in the works. They’ve had to demolish outbuildings and hire architects to sketch out designs. The process isn’t as simple as inviting some vendors to wheel in their trailers and turn on their flattop grills.
“We’re currently in a holding pattern waiting on the engineers and permits. There’s no definite completion date as of now, but we’re super excited about bringing this to the area. We plan to have a playground, stage, shade structure, parking, restrooms, dog friendly on leash, and BYOB beer and wine.”
Black Sheep Ranch has come a long way in the short time it has been in business, and there’s so much more to come. So make sure you make the trek to far south Austin to pick up something unique for your home. And then make sure you come back a few months later to see all the new items begging to go home with you.
Photos: Courtesy, Black Sheep Ranch.