Furniture company returns to Louisville after 11-year hiatus

When Susan Straub and her husband Matt Straub moved to Florida, she packed up her business as well.

Straub ran a furniture store called European Splendor in Butchertown Market from 2001 until 2005, when her husband who works for Brown-Forman needed to change cities for his job. Now, the couple has returned home to Louisville, and Straub decided to reopen her brick-and-mortar store – this time, along Frankfort Avenue.

“I enjoyed the retail part. I enjoyed the face-to-face with my customers,” she said. “People want to see (furniture). They want to touch it. They want to know what kind of quality it is.”

Exterior of the Homemade Pie and Ice Cream Kitchen's former space on Frankfort Avenue.

Exterior of the Homemade Pie and Ice Cream Kitchen’s former space on Frankfort Avenue.

It was Straub’s offer of $430,000 that prompted Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen owner Adam Burckle to close his store and sell the building at 2232 Frankfort Ave. Burckle is opening another Pie Kitchen location at 4810 Dixie Highway in Kingsford Plaza.

“We got a really strong price on it,” Burckle previously told IL, noting that the real estate market along Frankfort Avenue has grown stronger as more residential and retail developments have popped up.

Straub said she found the space with help from Realtor Sam English of Cushman & Wakfield/Commercial Kentucky. They’d been looking in NuLu, but none of the available spaces could accommodate the delivery trucks, she said. Meanwhile, the Frankfort Avenue spot can and has its own parking lot.

“We love the space. We love the neighborhood,” Straub said. “There is a little bit of a micro-climate going on, a lot of new businesses coming.”

Still, it does have its drawbacks. Straub had been looking at spaces as large as 10,000 square feet, and the Pie Kitchen space is only 2,700 square feet, which means they will likely need to find a warehouse to store European Splendor’s inventory.

The couple plans to invest roughly $50,000 in renovations, including knocking down walls, repainting the building inside and out, and installing new floors.

“We are going for a real classic look for the building,” she said, adding that they will do much of the renovation work themselves.

Straub expects to open in July or August and will start looking for 10 employees come July 1.

During her years in Florida, Straub said, she kept in contact with her European connections as she did design work, so it was easier for her to re-establish the brick-and-mortar store.

European Splendor will offer a wide variety of furniture, home décor and related items, including hand-painted furniture, pottery from Poland, and soaps and fragrances from France.

“Our wood furniture is definitely our draw,” Straub said. And “we work directly with the manufacturers, so we can bring the value to (customers).”

She described the furniture as classic and rustic, with prices averaging $699 to $799 “for a big solid piece of furniture.”

“It is heirloom-type furniture,” Straub said.

Although some prices can reach in excess of $7,000, Straub said she also will sell $5 items.

“The reason we started this business in Europe is we lived in in the Czech Republic for three years …we really grew to love the great quality work,” she said. “We really want to offer a great quality product for a great price.”