by Evelyne Vivies
A Visalia native finally comes home and brings us American made outdoor living at its finest! Although The Patio Place has its origin in Palm Desert, the owner, Ron Bock, was born in Visalia and says he’s been trying to return to Visalia all his life.
Ron Bock, a man with a big heart, has lived most of his life in the Fresno area before following his heart to Palm Desert. He ended up working for an outdoor furniture manufacturer and fell in love with outdoor furniture! So much so, that the owner sold him the business after three years. Ron explains, “I grew up poor. To us, outdoor furniture was indoor kitchen chairs that we hauled outside to sit on.” He had opened his second Patio Place in Palm Desert when his mom became ill with dementia. He returned to Fresno for the love of his mother to take care of her and decided to open his third store in Fresno and then a fourth one in Bakersfield.
However, it has always been his dream to come back to Visalia, not only to open a store, but to settle there. Although living in Visalia has been his goal, until recently he had not found the right commercial space. Then one day his father, who lives in Visalia, also began having health issues. Once again the love of his family called and he came to help. Shortly afterwards, the ideal commercial space became available in Visalia at 3729 S. Mooney Blvd., between Home Goods and DSW Shoes.
When I asked Ron why he loves Visalia so much, he said his fondest childhood memories are deeply rooted in Visalia, especially Downtown Visalia. He remembers walking down Main Street with his grandmother as a young boy, eating ice cream, and going to the movies. His grandparents owned one of the first two gas stations in Visalia in the 50s near what is today West Street. His love of Downtown Visalia is evident in his lamenting of its comparison to Fresno’s downtown, where strolling downtown is just not an option. He loves the small town feel of friendly people and “the ethical superiority of a small town where people know each other and town talk provides a structure for civil society that makes people behave.”
It is as much the attractive look and feel of the outdoor furniture found at The Patio Place as it is its tough durability that has made its reputation. The fabric used in every piece of furniture, whether it be cushions, umbrellas, or hammocks is Sunbrella fabric. No fading, machine washable, wine proof, and bleach proof, that’s right, bleach proof! But the experience of sitting on an exquisite piece of furniture at The Patio Place is when you will know comfort beyond the norm.
What you will also notice about The Patio Place are the unique items that you won’t find elsewhere. Ron says he often hears his customers say that every time they turn around they see something they’ve never seen before. And that is intentional. He travels every year to Chicago, the mecca of outdoor furniture, in pursuit of unique products from top-of-the-line manufacturers like O.W. Lee, an American company, rated #1 internationally in outdoor casual furniture and named Manufacturer of the Year for 5 years in a row.
Unique items like the Turtles bluetooth outdoor speakers, or the fire tables with its 85,000 BTU’s is not only attractive and useful, for warmth and cooking, but it is also on wheels for practicality.
“Uniqueness, freshness, makes life more interesting,” says Ron. “Outdoor furniture that people won’t see at their friend’s house or anywhere else.” And he makes sure of that by going regularly to other stores to make sure he does not sell what everybody else sells.
Quality outdoor rugs that just don’t wear out and cushions that are not only fade-proof but also stain proof and easy to clean thanks to the top performance fabric made by Sunbrella, which come with a 5-year no-fade warranty. This material is tough because it is acrylic and has ultra-violet inhibitors, yet is surprisingly soft to the touch for ultimate comfort.
Ron makes a prediction that one day this material will find its way into indoor furniture. Already clients are bringing indoor furniture cushions for measuring and having The Patio Place replicate them using the Sunbrella fabric, and in a multitude of colors and catalog designs to choose from. Such variety with 24 top American brands in outdoor furniture to choose from, including Alumont, Hanamint, Tropitone, O.W. Lee, Jensen Leisure, Mallin, Treasure Garden umbrellas and cantilevers, Hattaras hammocks, and Brown-Jordan all in a local business!
The furniture frames, made of powder coated metal are so well made there is no pealing or rusting. They are guaranteed for five years for the chairs and five years for the umbrella frames. And these frames will last well beyond that. Ron says, “We sell heirloom furniture. It makes me feel good when young people come with the frames their parents gave them to just replace the cushions.”
Outdoor wicker is another trend that The Patio Place has embraced with wicker weaving made with a durable polyurethane material. Ron explains that wicker has more to do with the method of weaving rather than the material itself. You get the attractive look of wicker furniture but with lasting durability.
A common misconception is to wait until spring to purchase outdoor furniture. Ron says that, at The Patio Place, the time to buy is now to take advantage of the off-season promotions. Purchase in the cold months to take advantage of the lower prices and The Patio Place will warehouse the furniture at no cost until you are ready for delivery when the weather gets warmer.
The price may be higher than the “box stores,” but it is much cheaper in the long run because you don’t have to replace anything. The Patio Place will also match any online prices.
Come see the Visalian with a big heart and store manager, John Soliz, and share his love of outdoor furniture.
The Patio Place
Now Open in Visalia
3729 S. Mooney Blvd.