Branded Country Wear in Peoria thrives with expansion and its store dog

PEORIA – Business is good for Branded Country Wear, a retailer on North Sheridan Road that recently expanded its store space.

Seth and Stacey Landwehr first opened the store in 2014 at the Metro Center on North University Street. Erin Bourscheidt joined the company in 2017 before fully acquiring it in 2021. Her business partners are increasingly preoccupied with raising their children and with their other careers, she explained.

“Life just happened to her,” Bourscheidt explained.

The company moved into the mall where it is currently housed in 2017 before moving to a larger adjacent space in the same building. In late August, the store expanded back to its former premises, a change that Bourscheidt says has made room for “more of everything.”

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While a two-month closure necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted business, Bourscheidt said Branded Western Wear was soon able to recover thanks to what she believes has been steadily increasing demand that hasn’t been hampered by the pandemic. Customers interested in traditional rural activities knew where to go when the store’s doors reopened.

“It was person after person walking through the door and saying, ‘Hey, we bought goats,’ or ‘My kids are starting to show cattle,'” she said. “These farming hobbies never stopped. They have grown exponentially and that has been really good for us because this is our customer.”

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Another major growth spurt was the television show Yellowstone,” which premiered in 2018 and is scheduled to air its fifth season later this year. The show’s costumes and dramatic depiction of Montana ranch life have drawn more than a few customers, Bourscheidt said.

“People do western-style weddings,” she said. “We’ve had a couple of cowboy-themed birthday parties and the amount of traffic that comes in is insane.”

Visitors to the store are greeted by Josie, Bourscheidt’s 15-month-old Australian Shepherd mix. Her previous canine companion, a Bernese Mountain Dog, had become an integral part of the business, so following her death in 2020, Bourscheidt had to break the news to a number of clients who were expecting her. Josie took on the mantle of shop dog in 2021 and was popular with customers.

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“I think as long as I’m here I’ll probably have to have a dog in the business,” Bourscheidt said.

Bourscheidt plans to hold a formal opening ceremony for the new store spaces in early October, an event with offers and giveaways.

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