Royal Robbins outlet returns to Modesto

Royal Robbins, the clothing company founded in Modesto more than 30 years ago, has long been a favorite with area residents. The active-wear apparel created by legendary mountaineer Royal Robbins and wife Liz got a workout from locals. They embraced the idea of a Modesto company with a worldwide brand and wanted to support it.

Over the years much has changed at Royal Robbins. The founders sold their interest in the business, and it's now a subsidiary of Kellwood Co., which is owned by Sun Capital. But that hasn't diminished consumer loyalty to the brand the Robbinses, who remain active in the community, created.

Their original store in downtown Modesto closed years ago, replaced by a slick new outlet in McHenry Village stocked with all the latest Royal Robbins gear. But it lacks the old store's outlet feel, a place where you might spot one of the Robbins and find a steal of a deal -- or two, or three, or more.

Well, Royal Robbins is back in the outlet mode in Motown with the recent opening of just such a store at 761 Kearney Ave. It occupies a small portion of the company's warehouse next to Modesto's main post office.

This store carries overstocked, discontinued and unsold items at discounted prices. Shoppers will find shirts, blouses, skirts, pants, shorts, sweaters, jackets, dresses and more in a variety of sizes. The merchandise will be added to continually with overstocked and outdated items as they become available. Outlet hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

You probably won't see the Robbinses at this new namesake store, but you will find the bargains and brand that made their original outlet so popular. For the latest Royal Robbins fashions, the Village store is still the place to go. But old or new, these clothes never go out of style. I'll take a pair of those brown Billy Goat shorts in a large. OK, extra large.

RoomSource, the Northern California furniture chain, will not be closing all six outlets as previously announced.

The company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late June, was able to work out a deal with creditors that allows it to keep four stores open, including the one in Modesto.

The owners are closing stores in Rocklin and Rancho Cordova, immediately launching sales to clear out all the merchandise at those locations. Besides the store at 2836 Sisk Road, RoomSource will continue operating one in Stockton and two in Sacramento.

RoomSource joins several home-furnishing stores in the region that have closed in the past year, including Levitz Furniture in Modesto and Youngdale's, an appliance store in Turlock, as the economy slowed and the real estate market collapsed.

Fortunately for RoomSource, it's managed to put together a plan to stay afloat as it tries to ride out these turbulent economic conditions.

Corral West Ranchwear at 3037 Sisk Road in Modesto recently announced it was closing. It is tucked into a space at the rear of the strip shopping center behind a service station and quick lube shop at the southwest corner of Sisk and Standiford Avenue.

In operation for about five years, it was one of about 14 outlets in California. They were purchased recently by the Boot Barn chain, which already had a store just down the road near Wal-Mart in the Plaza Parkway shopping center.

Boot Barn is closing five of the Corral West stores. Employees at the Sisk store said it is being closed because it is so close to the Boot Barn outlet and sales had slowed to a trickle recently at this hard to find spot. Location, location, location.

The closeout sale is still on and likely will continue until most, if not all, of the heavily discounted Western apparel and accessories are gone.

Have an item for Business Beat? Send it to David W. Hill, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; or