For the mother/daughter tandem of Cindy Carr and Sylvia Griffin, the opportunity to run a retail store together has been a long dream. The journey of life has taken them each in a variety of directions, but the passion behind Boerne Farmhouse is evident in not only the items that they feature, but in their passion for the business as a whole.
Sylvia begins, “I’ve always been involved in communication. I graduated from SMU and became a speech therapist and went back in my mid 40s to study Journalism. One of my editors was getting ready to start up a PR firm and she wanted me to come in with her, so I got into that in Houston and my husband was a doctor and we had a couple of kids and it was crazy to be starting all this in mid-life. I loved the whole aspect of dealing with clients and people and became so aware of my love for design and architecture. We ultimately retired to Boerne in 2004 and I began doing little design projects with Cindy and staging homes for her since she is a realtor also.
Cindy adds, “I was born and raised in Houston and ultimately went to Texas Tech as an Ag Economics major. My intention was to move to the Midwest and be a grain trader, but I met my husband and he wanted to stay in Texas, so when we graduated we ended up down in Pleasanton. I started a career in Corporate Finance at Frost. I started at the bottom and just clawed my way up. I started as somebody’s assisstant, and went through their training and became a commercial lender. We didn’t have kids at the time and I had to do a lot of entertaining at nights for clients, so when I got pregnant, there was a home décor store for sale there in Pleasanton and it was something I always wanted to do and I asked my husband and he said DO IT. It went famously. We were very successful. It was called Nest Feathers – it wasn’t my favorite name, but I bought it and kept it. It was similar stuff to what we have here, but it was a great family organization and I loved every minute of it and the staff that was there when I bought it was there when I sold it.” Sylvia jumps in, “It had a galvanizing effect on downtown Pleasanton – she started the Downtown Merchant’s Association – she was so supportive of the historical aspects of the town and she was twice honored as the Businesswoman of the Year and once as the Businessperson of the Year. It stunned her, but didn’t surprise me a bit.”
Newer transplants to Boerne, Cindy made the career shift to real estate shortly after arriving. “I’ve always designed and flipped houses in my past, and I needed income so I thought real estate would be a natural fit for me so I’ve been a realtor for the past 3 years and I’ve done pretty well. It was so hard breaking into the real estate market here because everybody knows a realtor and nobody knew me so it was challenging. But my niche is that I use my décor to stage your home and I have worked my butt off and I’ve been successful because of that hard work. I’ve painted people’s homes and I’ll literally do anything to help a home look better – and I think that service has helped people refer clients to me. Real estate is such an emotional thing and so it’s tough, but it’s a lot of being a therapist so my niche has been to provide the highest level of service. “
The idea for another retail store remained, however, and the two ultimately began discussions on how to do it. Cindy continues, “I made the decision that I wanted to open a store somewhere. My biggest hold up was that I didn’t know if I could afford the overhead here in town, and I really wanted Mom’s advice because she had been here so long. The more we talked, the more excited we got and the more we talked we just got more and more excited. We are so compatible and she has worked with me so very much and I understand the business side of things and she knows the design side of things so well – we both don’t mind getting into the mud together and it just works.”
And with that, Boerne Farmhouse was born. Not “antiques”, but featuring reclaimed architectural pieces, the duo’s passion for these pieces become apparent quickly. Sylvia explains, “People can relate and connect to these pieces and people love to get the details – these pieces came from an old 1929 farmhouse in Seguin and people exclaim “My parents are from Seguin!” and they just become emotionally attached to the pieces and we just love that. People stand and stare at things and they ask “Who had this? Who would have thought to build this thing?”” Cindy adds, “Most everything here would normally be in a landfill. That’s just crazy to me. You take something that is someone’s trash and you take it and it becomes art. That just endlessly fascinates me. I bought a box at an auction that was full of just metal pieces and I didn’t even know what it was but I just thought it was a neat piece. I cleaned it up and it turned out to be beautiful wood carvings and I didn’t understand what it was but I knew it was beautiful – they turned out to be metal castings for a crane hook. It was so random and so fun and so fascinating to learn even what we are looking at. It was something that is sitting on an old industrial building and it was somebody’s trash.
And that just never gets old for us. Taking these items and making them beautiful again and watching our customers connect with the items on an emotional level is just something that keeps us going every day.”