A customer entering Gnome Sweet Gnome might never guess that 5 feet of water from Hurricane Harvey forced the Kingwood shop to close its doors for a few months this past fall.
However, founder Mary Beth Baker and co-owner Sally Kelly said the shop has bounced back.
“We had to start from scratch again; it was a huge financial risk since [the Federal Emergency Management Agency did not]cover [the damage],” Baker said. “But we couldn’t just give up after all of our hard work either.”
Kelly said the owners had just returned from market with new products before their store was flooded.
“We had to replace flooring, fixtures and 8 feet of walls,” Baker said. “But afterwards, it was a shelter for people coming in that were glad to see a Kingwood store reopen. It was a place people could come to get away from their homes [that were damaged].”
The shop features a variety of unique gift items ranging from as little as $8 to more than $600, including home decor, collegiate and children’s items, clocks and jewelry. It supports small businesses in Texas and Louisiana, and it offers specialty orders and free gift wrapping.
“I like to find things that no one else has and to support small businesses like ourselves,” Baker said. “Our products are classy, unique and have an old-world, rustic feel.”
In remembrance of the community’s plight, the store has added an exclusive line of Loblolly’s—sculptures made from local pines by local artist Pat Wallace.
“Pat wanted to help the community somehow, so this is helping her heart, too,” Kelly said.
The shop originally opened four years ago. Baker had opened a maternity clothing store in the Galleria but followed her passion for gifts and home decor to start Gnome Sweet Gnome. Last June, Kelly joined forces with Baker as a partner, shortly before Harvey.
Despite the hurricane’s wrath, the business owners said they hope to keep growing in the community.
“I want us to grow and expand. That’s the goal,” Baker said.