When Shelba Johnson was looking to relocate her antiques business from downtown Tyler, Bergfeld Center seemed a natural choice for her.
“That's like going home to me,” she said of moving Royal Passage Antiques into the center.
For about 30 years, she lived on the corner of Chilton Avenue, a block from Bergfeld Park. And the Bergfelds were her next-door neighbors and good friends. “I knew Andy (Bergfeld) before he was born,” she said chuckling.
Now, she will be leasing space for her store from the Bergfelds and is one of four new businesses opening shop in Bergfeld Center — one of the oldest shopping centers in Tyler.
Brothers Andy Bergfeld, 42, is president of Bergfeld Realty Co., while Brad Bergfeld, 29, is president of Bergfeld Agency and does property management for Bergfeld Center.
Brad Bergfeld said Bergfeld Center's original two buildings on Eighth Street opened for business in February 1949. Five years later, a building on Seventh Street was added and 2 1/2 years ago, the building on Ninth Street was added.
Bergfeld Center's retail development sits on 35 acres and includes about 35 businesses — from Bill Day Tires and Luby's Cafeteria to Village Bakery and The Kitchen Drawer. It spans from CVS Pharmacy on Fifth Street, to Red Hanger Drycleaner on Old Troup Highway, to Brookshire's and Junior League of Tyler on Donnybrook Avenue, to Broadway Avenue, Brad Bergfeld said.
“Over the years, Bergfeld Center has been a great place for businesses to get started,” Andy Bergfeld said.
ROYAL PASSAGE ANTIQUES
Ms. Johnson opened her first antique shop in the late 1980s, and at one time had five antique shops in East Texas before combining them into one. Before getting into the antique business, she and other partners owned a women's specialty clothing store for almost 20 years, she said.
Antiques have been “the love of my life,” Ms. Johnson said. She grew up antiquing as a girl, but her mother-in-law really sparked her love for antiques.
Her store, Royal Passage Antiques, offers furniture, rugs, paintings, lamps, books, porcelains, figurines and other collectibles.
The business will open in Bergfeld Center by mid-November. “It just seemed the natural choice for me,” she said. “I just feel like I'm going back to my old neighborhood; going back home.”
Royal Passage Antiques will be in the space that formerly housed Luxe. Ms. Johnson said she will still have a lot of merchandise at the downtown store through mid to late November and she has already started a big moving sale.
Ms. Terry grew up in Tyler and has been in the beauty business for 11 years. She attended the Aveda Institute in Dallas and has worked for several businesses in Tyler, evolving from a massage therapist to a skin care specialist and cosmetologist.
She developed a love for product knowledge and pure products and had a clear idea of what she wanted when opening her business, she said, adding that she wanted a comfortable, inviting place that also was glamorous and chic.
She said opening in Bergfeld Center was a “no brainer” because the shopping center was a staple here when she was growing up. She moved her business into the space that formerly housed Rubicon Too, 8th Street Boutique and Mary V's by Shelby.
“It's exciting to be here with the new businesses coming in and the shops that have been here so long,” she said.
The Parlor is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment only on Monday. “We do everything — hair, skin, nails and massage,” she said, adding that she plans to add laser hair removal in the future. She has seven employees and has additional stations for rent.
She said one of the things she is most excited about moving into Bergfeld Center is the opportunity to have a full kitchen again. She said they will offer a selection of organic, clean food in about a week.
Whole Health carries a full range of homeopathy, dried bulk herbs, Annemarie Borlind skin care line from Germany, specialty foods, such as gluten-free, a couple of lines of herbal liquid extracts, and several vitamin brands. Whole Health also has a library of books on nutrition for sale and a room where patrons can sit and read.
Whole Health operated out of Times Square center for about five years and at 4834 S. Broadway Ave. for the last 12 years. She moved the business to Bergfeld Center, where The Eatery was, so she could have a full kitchen, which they ran out of room to offer about 10 years ago. The space is 800 square feet larger. Ms. Ram has five employees, including Lee Ashwood, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of New York. Whole Health is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
COME TOGETHER TRADING
The business sells items made by people living in extreme poverty in about 40 underdeveloped countries, such as Africa, India and Nepal, Marshall said. They sell hand-crafted items, a lot of which are made by women rescued from human trafficking. Items include purses, jewelry and home décor, he said.
Fair trade is a social movement that tries to empower the poor and give them fair wages for their work, Marshall said. The couple has been married 23 years and has owned Come Together Trading in Canton for about three years. They are following their dream to open a second store in the Azalea District, he said.
In 2009, they traveled to Africa with Compassion International to meet a child they sponsor through the organization. After a couple of weeks there, they returned to Canton, sold their business, Marshalls RV Center, and decided to do something to help people. The Marshalls plan to open Come Together Trading in Tyler in late October or early November. Their hours will be 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and they plan to have a grand opening celebration Nov. 23.
Joyner-Fry, a 75-year-old men’s clothing store, moved into the shopping center in 1965, and owner Steve Fry recently announced his plans to retire and close the store by the end of the year.
“Obviously Joyner-Fry has been a great asset to this shopping center for many years,” Andy Bergfeld said. “We will miss Steve (Fry) and what he has brought to our tenant mix … but it’s time for him to slow down.”
He said Joyner-Fry has the lease through January, and they will soon start focusing on what to do with the space when it becomes vacant. Andy Bergfeld said it is the space with the most visibility traveling north on Broadway and they will come up with the best option for it, whether it is keeping it as one or dividing it into two spaces.
Brad Bergfeld said they have some other tenants who have been there for 40 or 50 years, including Mary V’s by Shelby.
“I think that’s a positive for the center — that we have tenants that stay that long,” Andy Bergfeld said.
With the four new businesses moving in, he said they only have one vacancy remaining, a 1,385-square-foot space on Seventh Street next to Luxe that houses Fresh Fruit. He said they are talking to a possible tenant.
Spin Out plans to move out of Bergfeld Center in February, Brad Bergfeld said. The business is building its own store on Old Jacksonville Highway.
With some businesses moving out of the center and others moving in, the Bergfelds believe it is a unique “neighborhood retail area.”
“We remain committed to providing this neighborhood retail shopping experience,” Andy Bergfeld said. And I don’t see that changing any time in the future.”
His brother agreed.
“We want to maintain that same feeling that was here when it was built,” he said.