Pictured at the bottom of the page is the family-owned Rancho Army Navy store when it first opened in Temecula in 1987. Before Carlos Hidalgo Alvarez purchased the property it was home to the well-known Frontier Museum(pictured below) established by John Bianchi in 1982. The Western-themed museum attracted people from all over the world to see the unique collection of holsters, guns, and other Western goods that John Bianchi had accumulated over the years.
Pre 1955, Carlos began building his experience in sales by traveling to locations where there was a need for basic supplies including clothing tops and bottoms, socks, boots, shovels, tools, and more. Among some of the locations that Carlos targeted were the agricultural fields and groves along the Southern California coastline and Inland Valley, which fluctuated by the harvesting seasons. With an increase in demand for goods and a growing population in Southern California, Carlos decided to bring his growing family into the mix.
In 1955, Carlos had gathered enough experience to open the historic Orange Army-Navy Store. The store quickly gained traction which prompted Carlos to invite his brother Tony Sr. to join the business with him. The duo began to build the inventory of the store to include new categories and products, such as camping supplies, hunting and survival gear, workwear, footwear, patriotic goods, clothing essentials, and of course, military surplus. Soon enough the business experienced major growth and it tripled in size.
In the 1980's Carlos and his wife Emma began exploring options to relocate from Orange County. The couple eventually found Temecula and were instantly interested in seeing what the area had to offer. They began to see that Temecula was unique, with its historic old town, a country feel, open land, and was a place where they could see themselves settling down later in life. This led to Carlos and Emma's move in 1986 from Tustin to Temecula, California.
In the 1980's Temecula was young and at an early stage of development, so naturally, there weren't many options for local clothing and or camping goods for people in the area, one of Carlos' fields of experience. Through his eyes, this opportunity held great potential for new growth and a chance to impact a new community in need. After weighing the pros and cons of opening a new store, he decided to purchase and convert the then Frontier Museum into The Rancho Army-Navy Store in 1987. Carlos couldn't open the store all on his own, so thankfully, he had a great reputation for his sound business acumen and ability to foster positive working relationships with everyone. This was enough weight to pry a couple of committed employees from the Orange Army-Navy location to open and operate the store in Temecula Ca. The lot and building were originally designed to house the Frontier Museum, a historic Bianchi-built building that encaptured Western lifestyle and Cowboy culture. A few years later, the store had established itself as a One-Stop place to shop in the heart of Temecula for outdoor enthusiasts and the everyday person.
In today's market, we find ourselves as one of the last standing stores that aim and focus on exceptional customer service. At the Rancho Army-Navy Store, you can feel the pulse of our foundation as we have not waivered off of our target to deliver the same values and principles that have made us shine bright since day one. We have served generations of family members, and see this business as an integral part of this ever-changing community of Temecula and the Inland Valley.
The Rancho Army Navy Store is located at 27999 Jefferson Avenue in Temecula and can be seen from Interstate 15 near the Rancho California Road exit (look for the American flag).