If I were a kindergartener and my mother took me to Faulkner Ranch in October, it would be one of the highlights of my year. In October Bob and Marilyn Faulkner, son Matt, and daughter Christine Loneman magically transform their ranch into a Fall pumpkin depot galloping with movement to keep up with drifting leaves from trees on their twenty acres. This newer property is evidence of a lifetime of making people happy is in every detail of convenience and fun.
Bob watched his parents build a western wear business that operated for more than thirty-five years. What started in their living room expanded to a little storefront at 79th and Wornall in Kansas City, Missouri to a massive location known as Faulkner Western Wear.
“My mother was the original telemarketer,” Bob said jokingly. “I remember her making calls to enroll people in her round dance classes, while Dad went calling square dances. Square dancers came to our house to buy petticoats. My three siblings and I handed out flyers at the Municipal Center’s square dance festivals, advertising their business.” An avid reader who used to sit and wait each week for the Bookmobile to come by, he and his sibling had plenty of outdoor time with their ponies and horses.
Bob’s high school sweetheart, whom he met in drama class and married in 1965, had quite a different family history. Marilyn’s childhood memories are rich with family and friends, not businesses. It never occurred to her that she would be part of a family business someday. Now she’s proud to be part of her family’s accomplishments. So many of her friends are saddened that they rarely see their children or grandchildren because everyone is so busy. Marilyn is grateful that is not her story.
Matt and Christine grew up on the property the community remembers as Faulkner’s original Pumpkin Farm. Christine shared some childhood memories. “We were always outside. We had the freedom of forty acres. We romped around the pasture. And my friends and I had a Nature Kids’ Club.” In fact now when she sees her two children and her brother’s two romping around the farm, she loves it. And she makes sure they know the gift they have. Christine’s fairly convinced the pumpkin transformation at Faulkner’s Ranch grew so fast partly because it was a re-creation of her youth.
So I asked about her ‘job.’ After all, she had no intention of joining her parents in business when she left for Mizzou. Even though she grew up around the western wear store of her grandparents, she didn’t ever really work in it. “But when George Brett came in to buy new boots” she made sure she dressed up in new cowgirl clothes and was on the floor near the shoe section. Yet today she quickly replied, “Work is fun. I never had to work in a cubicle. I’m glad for that. And I tell my friends, you will succeed in anything you are passionate about. Otherwise, why steal time from your family? It has to be worth it. For me, I am not stealing time from my family because they are all around me all the time. Especially in our country, everyone has opportunities. You can do what you want and love and you will always succeed and not burn out.”
Bob chimed in, “I grew up in a family with an entrepreneurial spirit. They taught me what I hope I have passed down to my children: you can accomplish much with hard work and by treating people equally and nice. And whatever it takes, you’d better love it.”
This philosophy is likely why Faulkner’s Ranch is loved by every person who spends time there, from little school children to families or even someone like me, now, at a company picnic.
Faulkner’s Ranch is run by a team and if the employees are not family, they are like family who have been with them for years. “With a team you can accomplish anything you want to do,” Bob said, adding that the future of this place is with Christine and Matt. He sees his grandchildren moving up next. They already show evidence of the Faulkner entrepreneurial spirit.
At Faulkner’s Pumpkin Farm, 10600 Raytown Road, you’ll find folks who love making sure your visit is the best imaginable. Let the child within gather a great pumpkin memory between 10 am and 6 pm daily.