From left: Pam Kidd, Donna Dowdy and René Stovall
THREE LITTLE GIRLS ages 11, 12, and 13 (or thereabouts) became the best of friends while growing up in the little town of Troup, just outside of Tyler. One of the girls went to the Methodist church, and the other two attended the Baptist church. “On Sunday nights, René and Donna came with me to MYF at the Methodist church,” says Pam Kidd, who is the youngest of the three, “Mainly because it was fun. At the Baptist church, the boys and girls went to separate classes. At MYF, we were together, and sometimes our church group would go to Tyler and eat at the Monterey House.” Today, all three are members of the Baptist church.
“We always dreamed that one day we would open a shop together,” René Stovall comments, “We were all getting close to 50 and our children were old enough that we had more time on our hands. Decorating is a passion for all three of us. All three of us like to visit with people. It is the ideal situation for all of us!”
What better foundation could there be for starting a business? “René is the one who first suggested that if the business ever interferes with our friendship, we will close the doors,” Donna Dowdy states emphatically as a way of explaining how the three make all the decisions together, “It takes all three of us. We each bring a certain ability to the table.”
She means that both metaphorically and literally. Donna is always the level-headed one. When René and Pam let their creativity get the best of them, it is Donna who reins them in. Pam is the adventurous one, the one who is quick to suggest trying something completely off-the-wall, like making handmade throw pillows with floral design to go with dried flower arrangements. René is the get-it-done girl. She is the one who figures out how to make things happen and tends to be the glue that holds everybody together. “Maybe because René is the oldest, I think she was always our ring leader,” Donna says.
René and Scott Stovall bought the building about fifteen years ago. “The idea to open a store was mainly because we wanted to see the downtown area revitalized,” says René. For several years, René, Donna, and Pam used the building as a place to store old furniture and things each had collected over the years. “I think Scott thought opening a store was a way to force us to get rid of some of those things,” René laughs.
“The floors are original, and so is the ceiling,” Donna points out those features as we step into the shop. Donna is one of Ecclectiques’ three proprietors. “The building has been here for over a hundred years. It was the Western Auto for a long time. Before that, it was a dry goods store. At some point, it was a dance hall. The loft area upstairs served as a makeshift morgue after the New London school explosion in the late thirties.”