The Old West in the Heart of Superior

Wandrin West Owner Diamond Rhodes.
By Sheryl Jensen

You don’t need to be a cowboy or a country singer to find unique Western wear, accessories and much more at Wandrin West, his store at 1826 Tower Ave.

Owner Diamond Rhodes didn’t come from out West. He was born in Philadelphia and moved with his family to a small dairy farm in Bloomer, Wisconsin when he was a child. They moved to Superior when he was nine. He graduated from high school here in Superior. He served in the U.S. Army for four years and worked with troubled youth as a corrections counselor and later as a coordinator with Arrowhead Regional Corrections. He served in the U.S. Air National Guard in Duluth as a news writer and reporter with the 148th Fighter Wing.  He’s now retired. 

It was his name that first led him into the online jewelry business. He later sold fine jewelry in a shop in Superior’s  Board of Trade Building. “I got to know Jeno Paulucci, selling him jewelry,” he said of the frozen-food magnate with Minnesota roots. “Talking with him was like an entrepreneurship master class for me.”

“I am most proud of surviving in this business. The Western industry has gone in and out of popularity … I am proud of learning how to adapt to the times and to keep on going.”

From fine gold jewelry embellished with diamonds, he branched off into Western jewelry. He noted, “There was a transition from when I started selling Western jewelry to selling more Western merchandise.” 

Before he opened his shop, he used to go to the Superior rodeo fairs, even dressing up and doing rodeo clown duties. He has also enjoyed trade shows in Denver and Las Vegas.

He explained, “I opened my Western shop in Superior in 1995. I called it Wandrin West because it had a nice ring to it. It’s a destination location. With the enormous popularity of country artists like Brooks and Dunn and Garth Brooks, and people seeing and liking the clothing and accessories they wear, many people like to dress the way they do as their fashion statement. 

“I am proud to carry a large inventory in a small store. The shop is packed full, and there is lots to see here,” he said.

“I like finding good work boots, and I shop the higher end brands.
I especially like the Double H brand, the Cadillac of all boots.”

“I get a lot of customers from out of town. Sometimes when bands come into town they shop here. And I get local country band members who also like shopping here. The refinery in town has several workers from down south, and they like to buy their work boots here, too.”

Wandrin West has been shipping internationally for several years. He explained, “Quite a bit of my business comes from online, with my website and Facebook page and occasionally some other online platforms. Surprisingly, I receive a lot of orders from Texas and Oklahoma. I also receive orders from several places in Europe. Business locally has picked up, too.” Increased online shopping, during the height of the pandemic and since, has been a mainstay, according to Rhodes. 

“I take appointments, so people can shop at their convenience outside of store hours,” he noted. Rhodes will honor special requests and find sizes and styles not in his shop or on his website. 

Sourcing his products from all over the U.S., Rhodes regularly stocks many of the most recognized Western brands such as Tony Lama, Stetson, Carolina, Double H, Dan Post, Justin, Harley-Davidson, Laredo, Durango, Georgia, Rocky, Annie Oakley, Wolverine, Field and Stream and more. However, he’d like customers to be aware that some of these brands sell out. 

He carries a variety of styles and quality leathers such as bison, bullhide, cowhide, python ostrich and caiman, a species very similar  to alligator. 

“Boots are my number one seller, primarily work and Western boots,” said Rhodes. “Also popular are cowboy [and] Western hats, jewelry, belts, clothing and other accessories for men, women and children.”

For men, steel-toed work boots and motorcycle boots are a few of the big sellers. Men’s clothing and accessories include leather jackets, vests, chaps, “pearl”-snapped Western shirts and waterproof oilskin dusters. Popular men’s accessories are belts, belt buckles, watches, leather briefcase organizers and weekender suitcases.

“The boots there are really good quality. I also like finding clothes
there you can’t find anywhere else locally.”

But the shop is not just for men. Women can find boots as well, in Western and cowgirl styles. 

Women’s clothing includes leather jackets and sweaters.  Accessories for the ladies include belt buckles, handbags, briefcases, tote bags and clutches. Rhodes even carries a variety of perfumes and colognes.

About bringing in some new items such as boot jacks, multi-colored Western hats and even fedoras, Rhodes explained, “It’s fun for me and my customers to enjoy what is out there for new styles in all types of products.” The store also features a variety of styles of Minnesota Moccasins. 

Jewelry is an important part of his business, both in the store and online. On his internet jewelry store,, he sells his own brand of fine jewelry, Diamond Rhodes Co., as well as Montana Silversmith and Dazzlers brands. Besides diamonds, many of the jewelry pieces have a Western flair, incorporating  turquoise and silver. One diamond ring is even in a horseshoe design.

Shoppers can find bridal jewelry, charms, rope chains, pendants, men’s rings, money clips, necklaces, watches and cubic zirconia (CZ) jewelry, in a variety of themes, including Western, youth, religious and more. 

For the little cowpokes, the shop features Western boots, cowboy hats and belts for boys and girls. Rhodes can also order clothing for kids.

Dressing the part and speaking about his own wardrobe, Rhodes said, “I have a collection of my own cowboy boots and Western wear clothing, and I generally wear a Western belt and watch. I may even wear a cowboy hat on occasion.”

Whether shoppers are looking for Western-themed greeting cards in the store or a great sale item in the online “Bargain Barrel,” they are impressed with Rhodes’ inventory.

One of his customers, Don Ricky, moved to Duluth from Missouri this past November. Ricky is an electrician who buys his boots from Wandrin West. “I like finding good work boots, and I shop the higher end brands. I especially like the Double H brand, the Cadillac of all boots.” 

“Diamond is a real nice guy with an old-fashioned charm,” Ricky said. “Besides the large inventory that he carries, he also provides great service to his customers. I have made at least a dozen referrals to other people about his store. I think it is very important to be supportive of small businesses in the community like Diamond’s.”

Another Wandrin West customer, Chuck Davidson, is a Superior contractor who enjoys shopping there for boots and clothing. “The boots there are really good quality,” he said. “I also like finding clothes there you can’t find anywhere else locally.”

He added, “Diamond is a great guy, very accommodating to his customers. The store is different, unique and something special.”  

The little Western shop on Tower Avenue is a bit of a well-kept secret for those wanting high-quality Western items for themselves or to give as gifts. ‘I am always looking for new products, new styles, new trends, bringing in U.S. and union-made products wherever possible. It is a constant challenge to keep finding those next things that will be popular,” Rhodes said.

Asked what makes him most proud of his business, he said it’s the fact that he owns one of the most unique shops in the Twin Ports. He added, “I am most proud of surviving in this business. The Western industry has gone in and out of popularity. It has been trendy at times, and other times, not.” Many businesses, he said, did not make it through the pandemic and lockdown. “I am proud of learning how to adapt to the times and to keep on going,” he concluded. 

For more information, visit the Wandrin West website at or their Facebook page. The shop is open from 2 to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. During business hours, the phone number is 715-392-1983. After business hours, it is 218-428-7957. PS

Sheryl Jensen is a Duluth-based writer, editor and reviewer.