Longtime Port Lavaca furniture store to close in August

Gabe Semenza

June 16, 2010 at 1:16 a.m.

PORT LAVACA - After 15 years, the business of selling sofas seems substandard to the idea of resting on them.

Because of this, Phenone Hunt and her business partners will close Furniture Gallery in mid August. The entrepreneurs plan to retire, they say.

"We have accumulated a lot of faithful customers from all over the Crossroads, and we're going to really miss them," Hunt, the 65-year-old co-owner, said.

The furniture store, at 119 state Highway 35 N., opened in 1995. Hunt used her management experience to team with Judy Opheiken and Ginger Irick, and open a store of their own.

Furniture Gallery offers traditional and nautical-themed furniture, accessories and bedding.

"If we didn't have something, we tried real hard to get it for customers," Hunt said. "We loved to go to market and pick out items that not everyone had."

The store's building, a 12,000-square-foot warehouse, employs eight people and is for sale.

Lacey Ekberg, executive director of the Port Lavaca-Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, said she is unaware of immediate plans for a new business to move in.

Russell Cain, a Port Lavaca real estate broker, is one of the store's most prominent and frequent customers.

"I'm sad, but I understand," Cain said. "One time, Phenone gave my wife a bench and it had our names engraved in it. Another time, she gave me golf clubs from 1910. They always took care of their customers."

Now, Hunt says it's time to take care of retirement activities. She looks forward to resting and traveling, she said.

"We felt our children would want to continue the business, but they don't want to and it's gotten too big for us," Hunt said. "I just want to say we really appreciate our customers."



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