By Babs Rodriguez
From family-run garden stores and antiques emporiums to a stalwart furniture manufacturer and a long-established interior designer’s retail showroom, these locally owned and fiercely independent stores in Fort Worth have celebrated far more anniversaries than we have. We salute them.
Four generations have owned and operated Archie’s Gardenland since it was founded in 1934 by N.E. Archie Sr. The west Fort Worth landmark first concentrated on landscaping, but the company, now run by Randall Archie, has long since gained expertise in planting and maintaining large trees as well as selling zone-adapted annual color and perennials. Since we saluted the garden center’s 80th anniversary in 2014, Archie’s has added 7,000 square feet of retail space; broadened its line of North Texas-specific soil, compost and fertilizers; and added a new play area for kids to enjoy while parents shop. 6700 Z Boaz Place
The Fort Worth-based manufacturer Kisabeth Furniture has been honoring fine craftsmanship and traditional techniques since 1958. In 2014, under the ownership of mother-son team Joy and Keith Webster, the company acquired a millwork company and now offers turnkey millwork and case-good fabrication from cabinetry to molding and trim. Capsule collections that have drawn our attention included last year’s 60th-anniversary midcentury homage, the Carl collection, named for founder Carl Kisabeth. Recent collaborations with local designers included custom furniture pieces with Ginger Curtis of Urbanology, and we hear some designs with Christina Phillips of Park + Eighth are in the works. And by the way, those comfy booths at Waters restaurant in downtown Fort Worth? A Kisabeth creation in collaboration with Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford. kisabethfurniture.com
Owner Kathy Flories is a veteran of the retail antiques trade, counting 27 years at her current location on Camp Bowie Boulevard. A favorite with designers, the 4,000-square-foot space is an ideal showcase for a collection of intricately carved chairs, vintage bamboo bar carts, ginger jars, rugs galore, art, estate jewelry, silver and much more. Posts on the @kfloriesantiques Instagram often draw our interest — and usually sell before we can act on our impulse to drive over for a closer look. Flories makes scouring estate sales in the area a mainstay, especially for furniture, her first love. But as she told us, “If I think it will sell, then I buy it.” Those instincts have proved true for close to half a century. 3915 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Into the Garden
We wander in and don’t quickly wander back out. And it isn’t just the draw of teak patio furniture that captures us. Ranks of garden pots, seasonal decor, books, rugs, wall art — all of it draws us in. They had us at Kingsley Bate and Ratana, but the addition of Brown Jordan outdoor furniture to the other stellar lines just seals the deal. Everything is familiar, but never quite the same, and that’s why the one-owner, one-family shop that opened in Fort Worth in 1993 remains a Westside favorite. 600 Dexter Ave.
This locally owned home furnishings store with a distinct point of view and a full slate of designer services turns 25 this year. Owners Mark Vaughan and Tad Watts have moved three times, expanding from 900 square feet to the current 6,500-square-foot space they occupy today in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. They also found time to open a companion store, dh Collection, which offers more contemporary furnishings and accessories. To celebrate, Domain is throwing a party April 11 with cake, bubbles, bites, door prizes and storewide deals, which run through April 20. 3100 W. 7th St.
Pease-Cobb has been in business on Fort Worth’s brick boulevard for just over two decades, after first opening shop on Vickery Boulevard. Its current storefront was well known into the ’70s as a Mott’s 5&10. Owner Judith Cobb says drop-in shoppers still enter with the tease, “Where’s the popcorn?” The popper is long gone, and the 3,000-square-foot floor is now filled with furniture, artwork and decorative objects both exquisite and unexpected. Judith and daughter Heidi Cobb, the second and third generation in the business, toggle days working at the store and also appraising estates (a family business since 1982). Elsie Pease, Judith’s mother, was the first certified antiques appraiser in Fort Worth — an interest pursued after her millinery career cratered along with the popularity of hats. In addition to the consignment furniture and paintings in the shop, mirrors of many eras and delightful smalls abound, from motto ware teapots to Ming pottery vessels. Elsie would be so proud. 3923 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Carter Bowden Antiques
Carter Bowden, the original owner of P.S. The Letter, opened an antiques store 20 years ago. The inventory reflects his interests, and, always, the exquisite taste he honed early in his career, working with national stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, is on show. Bowden specializes in vintage silver pieces and art, especially the work of George Grammer, a Fort Worth Circle artist. A flat file in the store filled with artworks of varying provenance is entrancing. Whether it’s Italian ecclesiastical items or Mexican folk art, we always find something intriguing. And, of course, there are the Scottish terriers. Frequent shoppers became familiar with first Angus and then Maggie, both rescue dogs who lived long lives. A new Scottie, also a rescue, won Bowden’s heart last year. And while the antiques maven laments the changes in business in recent years, his love for the exquisite, unique and handmade is undaunted two decades on. 4704 Camp Bowie Blvd.