REFUGIO – Stepping into High Faultin boutique for the first time, one can’t help but be impressed with the wide variety of items available for men, women and children.

Couple that big city selection with small-town service and hospitality, and its to see why the store at 208 N. Alamo St. (Highway 77) is thriving and was named as one of the businesses of the year by the Refugio County Chamber of Commerce.

High Falutin is owned by Ken and Debra Moore, who also own Greenhouse Cleaners and Laundry and have strong ties to the area.

“We opened about six years ago and started off inside the cleaners,” Debra said. “We started off small.”

“We started off with decorative apparel and accessories and then added fashion apparel and shoes. We have some well-known brands such as Oakley (sunglasses), as well as fishing rods and outdoor wear and children’s clothes.

“We have something for everyone, from young children to seniors, and offer sizes all the way through 3- and 4-X.”

Moore credits the store’s employees with being on the cutting edge of popular fashion.

“We have an awesome staff who are very dedicated and devoted to doing their best to help our customers, and they are also very knowledgable about the latest fashions,” she said.

“One of my original employees lives in London, and she sends me messages about what is trending there. My employees have been with me for years — we’re like one big family.”

The boutique’s customers are about a 50-50 blend of those from the area and those traveling through town on Highway 77.

“We have a lot of regulars who come from out of town, and also local customers who stop in to have coffee and shop. For those passing through, we want to be their halfway point where they stop on the way from Houston to the Valley and back.”

Ken and Debra have owned the cleaners in Refugio for 22 years, and before that her parents owned the business for several years.

“We love Refugio and we don’t plan to stop constantly growing and offering new things here.”

The Moore decided to open the boutique because they already offered embroidering and custom screen printing, so it was a natural fit to branch out.

“Customers say they wished we had a pair of jeans to go with their top, or shoes to match their outfit, so we decided to start offering the things people were asking about,” Debra said.

Ken had dreamed for years of opening a larger store on Highway 77, but the timing wasn’t right until 2017, when the Moore finally moved forward with purchasing the building where High Falutin is now.

“We believe everything happens in God’s timing,” Debra said. “We finally made an offer on the building, and then right before closing, we had the hurricane.”

Like so many other facets of life in Refugio County, Hurricane Harvey amended the Moore’ plans, but did not derail them.

“That put a monkey wrench into our plans and delayed everything, but we still went forward with the purchase of the building,” Debra said. “It took eight months to rebuild and restore everything.

“Kenneth and I and my family did a lot of the work. We laid the floor ourselves, built the dressing rooms, redid the walls and painted. Right before the store opened, we had a big work day and my brothers, sisters, children and parents all helped.

“That was in August 2018, and we were able to finally open on Sept. 15, 2018. We had a big grand opening and it was a huge success. We’ve been doing well ever since.”

What does Debra enjoy most about owning the boutique.

“First is the most obvious — I’m a people person, so I love talking to the customers,” she said. “The customers come in to say ‘hi’ and have coffee with me.

“Second is we’ll have some one walk into the store, and by the time they walk out they have a totally different outlook on fashion.”

Debra said her employees love to give customers new fashion ideas they might have never even considered before, help them pick out different outfits and give them a totally different outlook on fashion itself.”

While there’s plenty in the store to appeal to women shoppers, men are definitely not left out.

“It’s so rewarding to see a guy come in and they can purchase one of the best fishing rods made in South Texas, as well as lures and Ken’s own line of fishing apparel -- Bow’d Up,” Debra said. “Those are designed and made right here in Refugio.”

Ken has personally tested all the fishing gear before it is stocked on store shelves, helping to ensure the best experience possible for those who will be taking that equipment to lakes, ponds, rivers or the ocean.

Debra added that she loves to offer local products. The first emphasis is on items from the area, then from Texas and then from the United States.

Among the local items in stock are seasonings and sauces from Tuttles Meat Market and Grocery in Woodsboro.

The Moore have three children. Daughter Elizabeth is a 2010 Refugio High School graduate who was a state powerlifting champion for the Lady Cats who now lives in Floresville and works for a law firm. Oldest son Kenny, a 2016 RHS graduate, is a senior at Texas A&M University majoring in industrial distribution with a minor in agricultural business systems. Youngest son Jason is an eighth-grader who plays football and also participates in track, and is looking forward to high school.

Debra said her husband is a driving force for the couple’s businesses.

“He’s constantly thinking of a better way,” she said. “The more Ken is blessed the more he wants to bless others. He is also a veteran, and so we make sure that we honor veterans by giving them a discount, and we clean military uniforms for free. We want to make sure they look good all the time.”

Ken served for nine years in the U.S. Coast Guard helping with search and rescue operations.

“His motto is ‘Semper Paratus’ — always ready, the same motto as the Coast Guard,” Debra said. “We do whatever we can do for veterans. The same goes for EMS, police officers and firefighters.”

There is also a strong desire to help the community, she said.

“The community has supported us and we will absolutely support them in anyway we can,” Debra said. “It’s God first, then family and friends, customers and the community.”

While the store is open from 10 to 6 p.m. to Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.Saturday. High Falutin also has an online store www.high-falutin.com that offers merchandise 24 hours a day and ships all over the United States.

If you haven’t been to High Falutin in a while, there are likely several new items in the store, Debra said.

“We have new arrivals daily and that’s so important — especially in a business like ours,” she said.

Jeff Osborne is editor of the Refugio County Press.