At some point there were simply too many. Carol and Bruce Huff had been collecting rocks, minerals and fossils for decades—Bruce for 50 years. When their kids were young, the family scoured the parks and rock shops of Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas searching for specimens. The garage filled to bursting.
"We had such a large collection in our house that we found ourselves in a dilemma," Bruce said. "We had to either sell it or give it away. But then we thought, why not open a shop? It had always been a dream of Carol's and this was a great way to make that happen."
The result was the Katy Rock Shop at 535 Pin Oak Road, near downtown Katy.
The shop is a menagerie of small polished stones, petrified wood, a variety of fossils, rocks as heavy as 98 pounds and even a meteorite. They run the price gamut from 10 cents to more than $3,000. It is home to the collections of several other individuals, too, for sale on consignment.
Carol, a retired elementary science and math teacher, runs the shop. Bruce is merely the "shop volunteer" and resident rock expert, according to the couple.
"Bruce helps with technical resources and rock identification," Carol said. "We have a lot of geologists who come in and collectors, kids and families. It's really great fun to see people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying the hunt for a particular rock or mineral."
Bruce has been collecting rocks since he was 10 years old, when his uncle, a geologist in New Mexico, sent him a piece of peacock ore—a formation that often shimmers with brilliant colors. From then on he was hooked, he said.
"My dad and I would go out to New Mexico with him to search for rocks," Bruce said. "I loved it ever since. You never know what you will see when you crack open a rock, and that is part of the thrill."
The shop also offers one-of-a-kind jewelry from Southwest Stones—the work of local artist Penny Bevill; Rocking J Gem and Jewelry—the work of local artist James Burrell; and Tree Climbers Jewelry—the work of San Antonio-based artist Erin Balzrette.
"It was a retirement dream for me to own my own shop," Carol said. "I thought, this is the perfect thing to do since we've been collecting rocks for almost our entire lives. For the past eight years of the 20 years I taught school, I taught rocks and minerals. I saw how much the kids loved it, and it became a passion for me."
With Carol's teaching background, one necessary addition to the store was its kid's corner, which provides a place for hands-on learning with items like break-apart geodes, puzzles, books, collector starter kits and shark's teeth.
"It was great fun to search for rocks when you have small kids," Carol said.
The couple now enjoys remembering the moments they spent with their own kids while watching the reactions of kids who come into the shop every day.
From the ground to the store
Rock undergoes formation by heat and pressure: Igneous (rock formed from cooling magma), metamorphic (formed under intense heat and pressure) and
sedimentary (layers of debris compacted together over time).
The type of formation influences where the rock can be found. Common sites include forests, mines, river bottoms, caves and even volcanic areas. Fossils often turn up after area rivers flood.
Individual collectors, miners, prospectors or others recover rocks.
Katy Rock Shop buys individual rocks or entire collections to sell from various collectors and wholesalers from all over the world.
Katy Rock Shop
535 Pin Oak Road