«Previous    Next»
Business Is Booming For Doors, Windows, Etc.
Looking for old wood flooring? How about a stained glass arched window or a green glass doorknob? You can find those items and much more at the 140,000 sq. ft. Discovery Architectural Antiques store in Gonzales, Texas.
  Brad and Suzanne Kittel started the business a decade ago after running a successful real estate brokerage in Austin. The couple had also purchased and fixed up old homes for resale, and they recognized a market.
  "We could never find pieces or parts when we needed them," Suzanne says. By the time they moved to Gonzales, a smaller town to raise their son, they had a network of salvage buyers throughout the country.
  "A lot of perfectly wonderful houses are torn down - a lot of times for parking lots," Suzanne says. "The salvagers have to fight for everything they get. Just a fraction of things that could be saved are saved."
  The Kittels started buying from the salvagers to fill up an old building they purchased. Now they have several showrooms, eight warehouses and three yards filled with lumber, beams, doors, windows, lights, ceiling tin, hardware and anything else found in homes.
  "Our most unusual items may be our large collection of doorknobs and interesting architectural elements - like terra cotta pieces from buildings," Suzanne says. "Most of our customers are building new houses. They want to have the old flooring or beams or stained glass. They like to add just a touch of the old."
  Antique doors are one of the business's biggest selling items. "We have a mill to strip, plug, fix and jamb them so they're ready to install," she says. "They're solid wood doors and have a lot more character than newer doors."
  Some customers own old houses and want to replace missing hardware or doorknobs, so they send photos of what they are looking for. The Kittels do some selling through their website or over the phone, but Suzanne says customers really should come to the business to see everything that is available. While most customers are from Texas, the Kittels have customers from Canada to Mexico. The business saw a surge of interest after it was shown briefly in a segment of the television show, "This Old House."
  While there are many antique businesses throughout the country, Suzanne notes theirs is a little different. "We're just us. We're not an antique mall. No consignments. No dealers. It's just us."
  The business is open year round Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brad and Suzanne Kittel, Discovery Architectural Antiques, 409 St. Francis, Gonzales, Texas 78629 (ph 830 672-2428; bwk @ discoverys. net; www.discoverys.com).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2008 - Volume #32, Issue #4