The building that now houses the Dancing Bear was built in the early 1900s as a wedding gift for H.D. Gruene’s daughter. Gruene is the son of the site’s original settlers.
Now owned by Oscar Dueñas and Beth Fuselier, Dancing Bear has an eclectic mix of home goods, jewelry and accessories. The pair brings together new and innovative finds from various independent artists and designers.
“We always look for local people when we [source for merchandise]instead of finding things that are more corporate,” Dueñas said.
Dueñas and Fuselier purchased Dancing Bear in 2008 after running Gruene Gardens—in the backyard of Dancing Bear—for two years prior. Before purchasing the Gardens, they each worked in the corporate world, and they said they had never given much thought to owning their own business.
From their previous jobs, Dueñas had experience with pottery, and Fuselier was familiar with plants and florals, so he said Gruene Gardens was an easy purchasing decision. Once they started running that business, they fell in love with Gruene and took the opportunity to own another piece of the town.
Dancing Bear was once called Ella’s Emporium, named after Gruene’s daughter. Each room of the emporium was privately owned by one of seven women, which gave the store a unique variation of goods and products. As the emporium changed ownership through the years, Dueñas and Fuselier said it has always kept that same eclectic feel as one walks through the various rooms.
“We want to create an experience and a destination spot for customers. … As you walk through the store, you’ll notice that everything is different [in each room], even the music. We want to touch the five senses,” Dueñas said.
In June 2014, Dueñas and Fuselier had the opportunity to open more shops in New Braunfels, this time inside Resolute Health Hospital.
Their stores, both Treehouse Gifts downstairs and The Nest in labor and delivery, still carry the unique finds Dancing Bear is known for.
1632 Hunter Road, New Braunfels
Mon.-Wed. 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Thu. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri. and Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-7:30 a.m.