Homestead House furniture store in Conroe closes as owners consider retirement


One of Chris Pfeiffer’s favorite things about his Homestead House furniture store in downtown Conroe is that all of the pieces in it have their own story behind them.

Take for example a dining room table near the main entrance of the store. A small, beautiful and intricate inlay of various types of wood signals the hallmark of early American designer Harvey Ellis.

Ellis worked for another furniture designer, Gustav Stickley, for seven months, but he carved out a lasting niche for himself in the furniture industry and his inlays are still a calling card of his influence more than 100 years after the Ellis died in 1904.

In another area of ​​the store, a dining set has ties to the late Princess Diana. The set is inspired by a dining set that was in Spencer’s childhood home in England. When his brother, Earl Spencer inherited the Spencer estate after their father’s death, he began a partnership with furniture company Theodore Alexander to form the Althorp Living History brand.

Design model furniture found in the Spencer home and proceeds from sales go towards maintaining the Spencer estate.

It’s these little touches that make her furniture store so unique and one of the things she will miss the most as the store enters its final months. Pfeiffer and his wife, Linda, look forward to retirement after 10 years in their space in downtown Conroe.

Homestead House will remain at 201 N. Pacific Street through the end of November, but Pfeiffer advises customers to come soon to take advantage of deep discounts as they wind down. He doesn’t know how many will be left as they get closer to November.

Pfeiffer has previous experience in high-end furniture at Homestead House in Colorado and as manager of Houston furniture store Louis Shanks which closed in 2016.

As Louis Shanks downsized, the couple who previously lived in Katy were ready to strike out on their own and offer something unheard of in the Houston market.

“There isn’t a store in the entire Houston area that offers so much high-end furniture from a variety of iconic manufacturers in one stop,” he said. “When Louis Shanks retired from Houston, all of those iconic businesses were gone.”

With available retail space in Houston being hard to come by, they found a great opportunity in Conroe and purchased the space from Ed and Robin Bartholet who also had a furniture store on site for many years.

Although they were a bit of a “strange duck” among restaurants and bars in downtown Conroe, they said the community made them feel welcome and they enjoyed getting to know their customers over the course of the last decade.

Pfieffer said they do so many custom projects and designs that they get to know clients on a personal level.

“We work with them for days, weeks and months on their projects and become friends,” he said. And their sellers are also skilled in design. “We could customize length, depth, height, etc. If we could draw it logically, the factory could make it for us.”

Often, if a custom project was successful, the client would hand over the entire design of their home to the designers.

“Designers can put the whole piece together,” Linda said. “They are very talented.”

Pfeiffer also got to know Earl Spencer on a personal level as his store sold Althorp Living History branded items. When a display of Diana’s dresses was on display in Houston, Spencer also came to visit her friend in Conroe.

“He’s a really good guy,” Pfeiffer said.

But like other small businesses, the pandemic has impacted Homestead House, and the Pfeiffers felt retirement was the next best step.

Pfeiffer said transportation costs are now two to three times higher. Production times for custom parts are over a year in some factories.

It’s also hard to get stock from the North Carolina plant.

“Costs have gone up so much that we’re making the same amount of dollar sales but with less product,” he said.

They also have another more personal reason for retiring: the birth of their first granddaughter near Dallas.

As they close this chapter of their lives, Linda concludes: “It has been a good experience.

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