Pictured above 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 their 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 1980s 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 that they could see themselves settle down later in life. This led to Carlos and Emma's move in 1986 from Tustin to Temecula, California.
Temecula was in such an early development stage that there weren't many options for local clothing and or camping stores. He saw this as an opportunity to reach new consumers and eventually decided to relocate his Army-Navy store to Temecula in 1987. The Alvarez family and a couple of committed employees packed their bags and relocated along with Carlos. The lot and building that Carlos bought for the new store in Temecula were originally built to house the Frontier Museum, a historic Bianchi-built building that encaptured Western lifestyle and Cowboy culture. To retrofit the building to meet the demands of the retail industry, Carlos brought in local electricians, woodworkers, and painters to assist him in his operation. Some years later the store had once again experienced an increasing demand for goods and it was bursting at the seams.
In today's market, we find ourselves as one of the last standing stores that focuses on exceptional customer service and staffing knowledgeable employees that you can trust. We have now seen and served three generations of residents within the 33 plus years we've been in Temecula.
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).