Have you ever worked in a shop where people would like to live? I have.
And I do.
Since I started my sojourn in September 2018 as a ranch hand at The Celtic Ranch in Weston, Missouri, I have heard a remarkable number of people comment on this. And it’s not limited to gender or to age. Sometimes, you can see it coming on a person. They take their first few steps inside the door… and stop. They gaze around, trying to take it all in; the sights, the scents, the sounds. Perhaps they just have to let their eyes adjust from the outside light. But sometimes, these dear souls are transported by the experience.
“Oh, this reminds me of the shops I saw all over Scotland.”
“All these wool sweaters make me feel cozy already.”
“It smells so good in here. I feel like I’m in Ireland.”
“This is my favorite shop in town.”
“We always come to Weston at this time of year and Celtic Ranch is our first stop.”
And then it comes… “I could just live here.”
I hear children say it; “I wish I could live here.”
I hear grown men say it, as in this exchange upon emerging from our Whiskey Snug:
Gent 1 – “Well, I guess it’s time to stop pretending I live here and get back to work.”
Gent 2 – “But, you do live here.” (meaning in Weston)
Gent 1 - “No, I mean living in this shop.”
And I know exactly how they feel.
Having been a big fan of The Celtic Ranch from afar, I was delighted to be closer when our family relocated from Lincoln, Nebraska to St Joseph, Missouri this past autumn. While networking and job hunting, I arranged to stop by the shop to talk with Terry Kast, the Head Honcho. I thought I was just catching up and getting suggestions for possible employment. To my surprise, I found myself also meeting with the store manager and the business manager. It was a full-fledged job interview! Not only that, I walked out the door with a job. I’m telling you… magic happens in this place.
Terry’s vision for the Celtic Ranch reaches well beyond the quality clothing, the beautiful jewelry, the well-stocked pantry and dizzying selection of international whiskey, wine and other adult beverages. Each of us – whether in the shop, in the office or tending bar – conspires to create a singular atmosphere of Celtic hospitality in this space. It’s palpable from the moment you jangle the cow bells on our front door.
I’ve always had the feeling that I’m among kindred spirits here. It’s always been a place that I recommended to others and brought guests, when I had the chance. I still have (and use!) the first thing I purchased here more than a decade ago. It’s a pretty simple little glasses holder on a long cord with a Celtic design on it (of course). And I never forgot where it came from. Yup, I’ve found my tribe.
Even better, now I get to share my view from the ranch with you – right here – each week! We’ll take a little ramble, appreciating the treasures of the Celtic Ranch as the wheel of the seasons turns through the rolling year. Don’t be a stranger. Haste ye back!
Wrangler of Cultural Affairs