Couple of the Month: Melanie and Ryan Ritchie

Her Story: Melanie Ritchie

Native of: Texarkana, Texas.

Education: Bachelor’s in accounting from Henderson State University and master’s in business administration from UALR.    

Name of business: We own Rock City Outfitters.

Parents: Byron and Diane Cook of Texarkana, Texas.

Hobbies/special interests: I enjoy watching sports, camping, hiking, biking or anything outdoors, as well as cooking and baking. I also have a special love for animals, especially dogs. 

How would you describe yourself: 

I am a perfectionist, very organized, plan ahead, and am always on time (unless I have to wait on my husband.)  I don’t like the spotlight or a lot of attention and I can be shy at times.

What is one thing people don’t know about you:I have an identical twin sister.  She lives in Little Rock, so we often get mistaken for each other. 

Most enjoyed weekend activity: Watching my kids play sports (soccer, baseball and football).

What do you enjoy most about living in the 501: I enjoy the small-town vibe and friendly people in the 501. I love the laid-back lifestyle and focus on community and family.

His Story: Ryan Ritchie

Native of:  Russellville.

Education: Double major in economics/finance and business administration from ATU and master’s in business administration from UALR

Name of Business: We own Rock City Outfitters.

Parents: Howard and Becky Ritchie of Russellville.

Hobbies/special interests: I love to watch all college sports and do anything outdoors such as camping and riding bikes. 

How would you describe yourself: I am the king of dad jokes and just want everyone to have a good time. I also try not to take things too seriously, which sometimes gets me in trouble.

What is one thing people don’t know about you: In high school, I played guitar in a rock band called Okra. Spoiler alert, we never made it big. 

Most enjoyed weekend activity: Watching my kids participate in all their sports and activities such as baseball, soccer and football. It pretty much consumes every Saturday and Sunday, but we love it. When I have a free weekend, I enjoy doing anything I can outdoors. 

What is your motto: When I was growing up, every single time I left the house or went out on the town, my dad would say, “Remember who you are and where you came from.” It left an impression on me. So much so that I am thinking of getting a tattoo of it someday. Maybe a face tattoo and my dad can’t get mad since it was his saying.  

What do you enjoy most about living in the 501: One of the things I enjoy most about living in the 501 is how one minute you can be in a nice downtown area enjoying all the amenities of city life and in a short drive you can be camping, hiking, boating, etc. 

Their Story

When/how we met: Graduate school at UALR. She helped me pass my classes.

The proposal:  I had my whole family help cut out gigantic cardboard hearts and painted them all pink and red. Then I broke into her apartment while she was at work and hung them all over the place.  I was there waiting for her when she walked in and totally scared her to death. 

Wedding bells: September 23, 2006 at Pulaski Heights Methodist Church in Little Rock.

Children: Hudson, 12; Lexi, 10; and Beckham 7.

Pets: Bear and Groot, two small mutt rescue dogs that are brothers. They are spoiled rotten.  

Family activities enjoyed together: Attending sporting events, camping and taking road trips. Before COVID-19, we loved to attend concerts and live music events.