Cove family opens The Yellow Armadillo
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Kiser family of Copperas Cove has ventured into the handcrafted rustic furniture and décor business by opening The Yellow Armadillo, located in the Frontier Hills Shopping Center, 175 W. Business 190 Suite 2, next door to Unwind!.
The idea to open a store was a dream of Alicia and Richard Kiser, relying on Richard’s building skills and Alicia’s artistic flair.
Alicia, a former kindergarten teacher for five years and an educator for 11, said prior to opening the store, she and her husband sat down and talked about it, that she decided she wanted to do something “different.”
Deciding on a name was something the Kiser family worked on together.
“Yellow is my favorite color, and I wanted something kind of rustic-sounding,” Alicia said. “My family, we went through all kinds of names.”
The family’s furniture is how the idea for a store got started, Alicia said.
“My husband is a contractor, and he loves to do this on the side anyway,” Alicia said. “All of our furniture in our house was built by us, so my husband said, ‘Let’s try it.’”
The store opened its doors in July and has turned out to be a family affair, with Carol Weber, Alicia’s mother, helping her hold down the store during business hours and also helping her paint.
“She’s the brains behind everything. She tells me what to paint, and I do it,” Weber said. “This is fun; this is relaxing. I love it.”
Everyone in the family has had a role in the business, Alicia said, from her son, who is in college at University of Texas at Arlington, who help her set up The Yellow Armadillo’s Facebook page.
Her husband, Richard, has built some of the crowning jewels of the shop—its furniture.
For example, one piece in the store, a bar made from barn wood, is topped with a mesquite wood countertop.
“We bought the raw slab, brought it home, played with it and it turned out to be awesome,” Alicia said of the mesquite wood inlaid with turquoise and topped with a heavy-duty clear-coat epoxy. “We’re hoping to make some more. We do custom orders and we deliver.”
Alicia she’s enjoyed building signs and other home décor from reclaimed barn wood, some of it from an early 1900s barn.
“We try to salvage anything we can and repurpose, because I don’t like wasting anything,” Alicia said. She has crafted mosaic barn wood pictures, each of them unique.
“I looked at all the barn wood and said, ‘We need to do something with this.’ It’s a lot of fun, figuring out what we can do. It’s a lot to do, but the support has been awesome.”
Alicia said her husband, who also welds, is preparing to start building firepits to sell.
Presently, her mother is busy helping paint personalized signs.
Sprinkled throughout the shop are other items, like smaller antiques and collectibles, such as wooden Dr Pepper and Coca-Cola crates, along with painted bottles, handmade soy candles, and aprons and pillows sewn by Alicia’s mother-in-law.
“We’ve tried to get a little bit of everything, to appeal to everyone,” Alicia said. “We’ll be putting out our fall items starting September 1.” She said customers can expect to see wreaths, pumpkins and other décor made from pallets she’s broken down and painted, all with a rustic theme.
Another unique item in the store is round coasters made from pecan wood.
“My parents have a place in Oakalla, full of pecan trees, and branches fall all the time,” Alicia added.
A friend of Alicia’s husband makes handmade hat racks that look like shotguns offered for sale at the store.
Alicia said they are already looking ahead to the Christmas season. So far, she’s been focusing on getting the word out, with the help of neighboring businesses like Candy Outfitters.
“I’m hoping Christmas time will bring people in, Alicia said. ”I know when I shop for Christmas gifts, I try to find something unique, and that’s what we try to offer here.”
The store is open noon until 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.