Jorge and Melissa Alvarez, Co-Founders
Thorn Ridge® came into existence on July 17, 2020 when Jorge and I purchased a property on the ridge of a mountain in Eastern Tennessee. The house is steeped with history and has an amazing story all its own. Country music stars, movie stars, and people from all walks of life visited the property during the 80’s when the original builder owned the property. There was even a couple of hit songs written in the basement. How cool is that? Jorge fell in love with the place just by viewing it online and took off to go see it with our boys. Afterwards Jorge and the boys were making monthly trips to the mountains. We were going to become snowbirds and live in Tennessee during the spring, summer, and fall (to avoid hurricanes) and Florida in the winter (to avoid snow and ice in the mountains).
We named the property Thorn Ridge® but often called it Thorn Ridge Ranch®. We incorporated the business as Thorn Ridge, Inc and decided that Thorn Ridge Ranch® would be a subdivision of the company. We also decided that we were going back into retail. When I met him, Jorge owned a clothing store named Classified and I worked in retail management. Together, we owned quite a few successful businesses over the years – Havana Nights Cigar Company®, Havana Nights Wine Distributors, Javino Spirits, Baby Splash, Top Hat Friesians & Barock Pintos (horse breeders), and VomGrenpolizei K9 (German Shepherd Dog breeders) to name a few. We also had our own separate businesses. Jorge owned a very successful construction company named Inline Drywall and helped build many major projects in the South Florida area including the Hard Rock Casino, the Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Beach Convention Center, the Port of Miami, the Miami International Airport, and too many other jobs to mention. I owned a publishing company, and a book cover design business, designed websites, and wrote a lot of books about intuition, frequency, and metaphysical topics, some of which I published myself and some that were published by other companies including Llewellyn Worldwide and were distributed to bookstores everywhere and translated into many languages. We were partners in every sense of the word, we were always busy planning, creating, and working side by side to create a good life for our family. Building businesses is hard work that required dedication and persistence to succeed. We had our ups and downs just like every entrepreneur does but we kept at it until we were successful with our businesses. We were entrepreneurs and made a fantastic team.
With Thorn Ridge, we wanted to build an online retail site with a country store appeal where people could buy all types of products, some that were our own brand that we manufactured ourselves or had manufactured for us, and others that we bought from vendors and resold, and other custom products that were made when someone ordered them. So we decided that the two divisions of our company – Thorn Ridge® and Thorn Ridge Ranch® – would carry different types of products for sale. Together we designed logos for each one that are similar yet different and we picked out what kinds of products we would carry within each division. Thorn Ridge® carries products for people such as personal grooming products like handmade soap, bath bombs, bath salts, beard oils, lotions, body butters, sugar scrubs, clothing, jewelry, wall art of pictures taken by our family from around the ranch and surrounding areas, art and graphic designs created by us and available on a wide variety of custom products, and other merchandise. Thorn Ridge Ranch® carries products for horses, dogs, livestock, the barn, farm and/or ranch since we’ve owned a working horse breeding business for sixteen years. We will also carry some unique items, such as stones and crystals and jewelry made from them. Our mountain ridge is full of crystals, marble, and other stones that have very positive energy associated with them and we’d like to share some of that positive energy with you through our product lines so we plan to gather some directly from our Tennessee property and package them for sale. We also plan to carry vintage items, antiques, and other interesting merchandise.
That was the plan and we were moving full steam ahead until October 2021, when Jorge became very ill. He had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and had been in remission but then it came back super aggressive. Before he went to the hospital on December 27, 2021, we had the following conversation. I was working on the computer and he came into the office and leaned on the back of one of the office chairs and said this:
Jorge: “Maui (his nickname for me), you know how I get gut feelings about the businesses that we’ve done over the years and how they’ve always been successful?”
Melissa: “Yes, I know.”
Jorge: “Well, I have that same gut feeling about Thorn Ridge and the Ranch. I want you to promise me, that if anything happens to me, that you will do the business exactly like we’ve planned and you’ll follow it through and make it the success that I know it can be.”
Melissa: “Don’t talk that way. You’re going to be okay. You have to be okay.”
Jorge: “Promise me. Promise me that you’ll do this for me and for the kids. I need you to promise me.”
Now I’m crying and I said: “I promise. I’ll do everything exactly like we planned if anything happens.”
Jorge: “Good. That’s good. Thank you. I love you.”
Melissa: “I love you too.”
On January 21, 2022 Jorge passed away. Our family has been devastated with his loss and our lives will never be the same without him in it, but I know he walks beside us in spirit every day. I am keeping my promise to my husband and am doing the Thorn Ridge business exactly as we planned together.
All of the important dates associated with Thorn Ridge® are also associated with Jorge and I. The first time we used the terms Thorn Ridge® and Thorn Ridge Ranch® was on July 17, 2020 when we closed on the property in Tennessee. Then on Jorge’s birthday on April 19, 2021 we first used the business names in commerce when we introduced our first products available for sale with the names Thorn Ridge® and Thorn Ridge Ranch® on them. On June 8, 2022, which would have been our 31st wedding anniversary (we'd been together 33 years), I launched the website for both divisions of the company at ThornRidge.com with very minimal custom products. I then spent the next five months developing and handcrafting the product lines like we'd planned. It was a lot of work and took much longer than I expected it to take to develop everything from the foundation we started to a store with products. Our Grand Opening Sale starts on November 8, my birthday, and after that we will be a fully functioning online retailer. It’s bittersweet doing this part without Jorge physically here by my side but I know he’s watching and is proud of all that we are accomplishing.
It was Jorge’s wish that if he passed, he wanted me to request donations to Saint Jude Children’s Hospital to help kids with cancer in lieu of flowers for his funeral, which I did. In honor of Jorge, every year I will also donate a portion of our net profits from Thorn Ridge, Inc to Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Jorge’s name. Twenty-five years ago Jorge nearly died in a car wreck and afterwards he always said that he was brought back to help kids, which he did. And now, even in death, he’s still helping kids through Thorn Ridge and St. Jude’s.
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