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It’s high time to shop for all things Western wear.

What’s Selling: Big Time Boots

Founded by co-owners Ed and Karen Smith, Big Time Boots is one of the two Broadway boot stores owned by the couple’s 44-year-old company, Nashville Trail.

It’s high time to shop for all things Western wear.
It’s high time to shop for all things Western wear.

Each year, droves of tourists and locals flock to Nashville’s Broadway Historic District in search of live music, authentic honky-tonks, Southern comfort food, and great cowboy boots. A Downtown Nashville staple since the ’90s, Big Time Boots caters to this broad demographic with its extensive array of Western boots, hats, apparel, and accessories that fill up three levels of space. The shop offers a selection of high-end boot brands such as Lucchese and Old Gringo, as well as the more affordable Ariat and Dingo. 

Founded by co-owners Ed and Karen Smith, Big Time Boots is one of the two Broadway boot stores owned by the couple’s 44-year-old company, Nashville Trail. The second being Betty Boots, the country’s first all-women’s Western boutique. Big Time Boots’ buyer Jennie Sapp-Dietsch views the recent pop culture-driven Western wear trend as an opportunity to attract a younger audience to both stores. “We love this industry and how much of a family it is,” she says. “I can’t wait to see how we adapt with this mainstream trend and come out on the other side with a new generation of cowboy boot enthusiasts.” 

What are your top-sellling boot brands? Dingo, Dan Post, Old Gringo, Lucchese, and Ariat

What are best-selling styles this season? A mixture of boots that are either basic first boots or really extravagant statement boots covered in rhinestones. Everyone wants classic silhouettes right now.

What is the best new brand of late that you’ve added to your mix? We just added Hyer Boots, and have gotten very good feedback as far as their quality.

What are your best-selling non-footwear items? Cowboy hats! Hats of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Do tourists/first-timers like to pick out a hat to match boots? The typical Nashville visitors either choose boots or a hat. They find it more practical to have one key item tto wear when they go back home.

A ‘big time’ boots selection awaits shoppers at this Nashville institution.
A ‘big time’ boots selection awaits shoppers at this Nashville institution.

What is your fastest-growing customer segment? The younger generation. Unlike generations before, we no longer have that grandpa wearing a Stetson hat and cowboy boots to look up to, so you have to discover all of these things on your own.

Are you experiencing a Taylor Swift/Beyoncé bounce and, if so, how so? I think that Taylor Swift has a huge impact on some of the trends right now in the Western industry, especially incorporating rhinestones and embellishments on boots. After her Eras tour started, everyone was looking for boots like she wears on stage in all varieties. As far as the Beyoncé bounce, I don’t think that trend has made it to Nashville yet, but we’re usually a little behind the curve on trends.

What about a Yellowstone effect? Yellowstone has had a huge effect on our business because everyone wants a cowboy hat right now. Either you are a Beth Dutton baddie, or you want your man to sport a black hat like Rip Wheeler.

Do you think Western fashion’s pop culture interest is a long-term lifestyle shift? It’s definitely making Western style more mainstream for everyone to try. What we sell isn’t a passing trend, and I’m confident that if you come to us and find that perfect pair of boots, you’ll come back for another pair for your next special occasion.

What’s the smartest business decision you’ve made this year? Purchasing a 10,000-square-foot distribution facility! It allows us to hold merchandise in a place where it can be well-organized and accessed when we need it so that we can replenish faster after a successful weekend.

What are your top goals for the rest of this year? To keep my shelves stocked, keep my staff engaged and excited to come to work, and to make sure we’re putting our best foot forward every time our doors are open to our guests on Broadway.

What is your top challenge? Staffing. We’re a family-owned business, and you must have the right mix of personalities and experience on the salesfloor to keep the atmosphere in the stores just as fun as it is at the bars on Broadway.  —Kiernan McCormick

The June 2024 Issue

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