New Bullard gift store, coffee shop carries on family tradition

By Bullard Banner News

The city of Bullard is known for offering both residents and guests a plethora of opportunities to shop within their local community. One local store opened its doors in May, providing patrons a place to unwind and visit with friends, as well as shop for items that fit the business’s slogan: “Gifts for Cool People.”

Solan Douglas & Co., located at 475 E. Main St. Suite E, is owned by mother-and-daughter entrepreneurs Cindy and Sarah Campbell. The store held its grand opening event in early May, but actually began operations in late March.

“Opening this store was definitely a long time coming for our family,” said Cindy Campbell. “We had been discussing about opening a store like this for a number of years. We wanted a place where people could come in and feel like they were almost at our home, with a warm atmosphere and very inviting – even if you don’t need a place to stop or a cup of coffee, our patrons would be able to come in and just hang out. This store is an extension of our home.”

According to Cindy Campbell, the atmosphere created around the new business is similar to the numerous shops offered throughout the Texas Hill Country, a favorite stomping ground of the Campbell family.

“The store is inspired by the Texas Hill Country,” said Cindy Campbell. “We just love the atmosphere of the little shops and coffee bars between here and there, and we’ve said we always wanted to offer a place like that here in Bullard.”

When it came to selecting the name for the new establishment during the planning and building process, two names within Cindy Campbell’s family came to the front of her mind.

“Solan Douglas & Co. is a name we created using the names of two members of our family,” said Cindy Campbell. “‘Solan’ is from Jason’s father, Van Solan Campbell, and ‘Douglas’ is from my grandfather, John Douglas Smith, both of whom were very well known as Bullard fixtures. Jason and I said that if we ever had a son, we would name him Solan Douglas; however, we had two daughters, so the name was carried over to the store. We added the ‘& Co.’ part to the name to reflect the rest of our family, both relatives and store employees. We’re very close to our employees and they’re like family to us.”

To honor the legacies of the store’s namesakes, pictures of Van Solan Campbell and John Douglas Smith can be found on the store’s walls.

“Both Jason’s dad and my grandfather were patriarchs of our families,” said Cindy Campbell. “You can feel their spirits here; my grandfather was a thick-skinned, rough-around-the-edges man, and I can see him in some of the pictures on the walls, while Jason’s dad was more of the gentlemanly type, which is also mixed in. We feel this store is a living monument to both men.”

To create a feel similar to being at home, the walls of Solan Douglas & Co. are composed of wood from an old house that was taken down by Jason Campbell’s business, Campbell Custom Homes.

“As everyone knows, Jason is a general contractor,” said Cindy Campbell. “We had the opportunity to purchase an older home that was dilapidated – we bought the home for the property it sits on. As they were demoing the house, I went out and saw the lumber we were just going to throw away, and I immediately loved it. It still has some of the old paint and wallpaper attached, but it’s also starting to come off or fading, which gives it a more characterized look. We also have some of the house’s old brick and the tin used on the roof. It really helps to create the old time, homey atmosphere we were wanting for the store.”

In terms of merchandise offerings, Solan Douglas & Co. sells a number of items in a vast array of categories, including baking and kitchen; lotions, cosmetics, and toiletries; women’s purses and bags; toys and quirky gifts; and more.

Cindy Campbell credited the store’s inventory to a mix of both the style and preferences of her and her sister, Michele Moore Welch.

“My sister, Michele, and I went to the market, and with our eclectic tastes, have been able to build a solid inventory for the store,” said Cindy Campbell. “She’s very helpful on the style end – what’s selling, what’s popular, and what’s stylish and well known, whereas my side of it was some of the funnier items, such as the rubber chickens, boxing nun puppets, and the moustache bandages. In terms of brands, we have Consuela bags; Blue Capri candles, lotions, and soaps; Niven Morgan lotion; Nordic Ware kitchen items; and Corkcicle cups, just to name a few items. The entire store is filled with a plethora of items and it may take several visits to take it all in.”

In addition to the smaller gifts, Solan Douglas & Co. offers several larger unique items that attracts customers’ attentions, including western and Indian framed paintings created by Texas artists, as well as window paintings created from windows of old houses.

“The old paintings and the window paintings are definitely attractants,” said Cindy Campbell. “We sell the window art as fast as we can get them in because they’re very popular items. Some of the designs we’ve seen come in have been the Ringling Bros. Circus, Fort Worth Stockyards, and old cigar store Indians.”

For those who might need a cold or warm drink filled with caffeine, they can visit another aspect of the business, Lost Sheep Coffee Shop, operated by Sarah Campbell.

“It’s awesome to have a coffee shop incorporated in my family’s store,” said Sarah Campbell. “It’s great to be able to work together alongside my family and family friends that we consider to be our family members. I believe we offer something to the business that brings others together.”

While stores like Solan Douglas & Co. once offered a soda fountain or an ice cream counter, Sarah Campbell said coffee was a modern twist added to the business.

“Coffee seems to be a more modern way to bring people together or to hang out with friends,” said Sarah Campbell. “When you have a friend in town, usually you say ‘let’s get coffee somewhere.’ Having a place like this creates a comfortable atmosphere to relax, study, or just hang out with others.”

The name for the Lost Sheep Coffee Company was selected from the story about the lost sheep in Luke 15, according to Sarah Campbell.

“I wanted to use the platform I’ve been given wisely,” said Sarah Campbell. “After a lot of prayer, I was reading in the book of Luke and read the parable of the lost sheep and how it was welcomed home by the shepherd – it’s totally like how we’re welcomed back into the Lord’s presence every day. I wanted the atmosphere of the shop to reflect the welcoming we receive from Him daily.”

On the menu at the Lost Sheep Coffee Company are a number of hot and cold coffee beverages created from Texas State of Mind Coffee Company, as well as delicious treats, such as cookies and snacks, prepared by another member of the Solan Douglas & Co. team, Amy Pittman, who is known for her cooking skills around town.

According to Cindy Campbell, the response from the Bullard community and all of those who have stepped foot into Solan Douglas & Co. has been very positive. Her goal is to continue operations and becoming a staple in the Bullard business community.

“We’ve received great feedback and very nice words from everyone who’s come in,” said Cindy Campbell. “We’ve heard from a lot of people that they believe this was a place Bullard has needed for such a long time. A lot of people come in and get overwhelmed by everything and say they have to come back when they have more time to look at everything. We’ve had people come in who just want to get a cup of coffee, are in a rush to find that last-second gift for a birthday or a special occasion, or come in and buy more gifts than probably people they know.”

When asked about her constant clientele and customers, Cindy Campbell said purchases made at the new store are investments in the local community.

“As a business owner, I know people can go anywhere to find gifts, but it means a lot that people are investing in our business and the local community here in Bullard,” said Cindy Campbell. “We feel like we’re located in a great spot, and hope to have our doors open for years to come.”

Summer hours for Solan Douglas & Co. are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays. More information about the store can be found on the Solan Douglas & Co. Facebook page.

This article provided by NewsEdge.