In a transition several months in the making, Ellis Home and Garden on Summerhill Road is preparing to move into its new location, the former North Forty feed store on Richmond Road.
"We've been leasing our current Texarkana location since the mid-'90s," said Derek Ellis, CEO of Ellis Home and Garden. "We wanted to own a location and operate out of an area of town where retail space was developing more. Also, our current space has too much retail space and too little greenhouse space. The new property will have just the reverse arrangement."
Over the last several months, the North Forty property has been reconfigured to suit the incoming business.
"We've gutted the interior, installed LED lighting, repainted, constructed a new parking lot. It has taken longer than we expected, and we've had to move back our original estimated move-in dates," Ellis said.
"It takes a lot of patience to get something like this done. We've hired experts to help in the design and construction. But things have delayed us, especially the rain we got in June and July. But our customers have been patient and it looks like the end is in sight," he said.
When the owners of North Forty began talking about retiring, Ellis got wind of it, as they dealt with the same growers. So he made an offer.
One thing led to another and a deal was struck.
"We plan to open the new location in September," said Ellis.
When the new location is set up, he said customers, and he hopes including those from North Forty transitioning over, will notice some new features.
"We will be doing a more seasonal focus in items offered for sale, and new merchandise will move in more regularly," he said.
In addition, the Texarkana Ellis location will be making fresh fudge on the premises.
"Initially, this will be an innovation with the the Texarkana Ellis," he said, "Not only will we be selling the fudge out of that location, but a truck will be taking weekly supplies out to the other Ellis locations. Eventually, as we iron out the process, the other Ellis locations will begin producing their own fudge."
Ellis Home and Garden is based in Bossier City, Louisiana, and has a total of eight locations in Louisiana and Texas. It is a family-owned business.