On Saturday, June 25, a beautiful building now filled with fun and needful things will open to the public, but softly. Refine Design Decor, Boutiques and More will host a Soft Opening from 10 am- 6 pm to show off the items for sale, and what the historic space has become.

The concept will be very much like the Painted Tree Boutiques in Houston, Tex. The Painted Tree is touted as ‘the Big Way to Shop Small’; dozens of shops under one roof featuring a huge variety of home decor, fashion items and gifts. This ‘co-retailing’ has been a hit around the country, a way for small business owners to test business models and merchandise and to make money in their ‘shop’ while working their other day jobs. “I won’t be trying to compete with local vintage and antique malls,” Refine Design owner Tonya Yates says. “Our boutiques will be a different type of concept.”

Included in the building will be a number of vendors that range from home goods to adult and children’s clothing, party items, candles and beauty items. There are still limited spaces available and Tonya is searching for purveyors of food items and other unique items.

One of the beautiful display windows filled with items.

This is a homecoming of sorts for the historic Zodiaq Building. It began life as a department store in 1926 and over the years has been a hat shop, shoe store, and then, vacant and forgotten. No more.

Read about the history of the Zodiag Building and its namesake, here. 

Stay tuned for plans on the Grand Opening happening in July.


April 21, 2022

One of downtown’s most attractive storefronts is in the process of becoming even better. 616 Texas Street, the building constructed in 1926 by Austrian immigrant Herman Zodiag, is going back to its roots.

Read the wonderful story of Zodiag’s Department Store, here.

Original design of the Zodiag Building by Edward F. Neild.

For at least 20 years, 616 Texas Street, designed by famed local architect Edward Neild, has languished in an ‘in-between’ land of uses.  New owners Mark and Tonya Yates have a vision of what the Zodiag’s future should be and Refine Design Decor Boutiques and More was formed.

Entrance to 616 Texas St., Refine Design Decor Boutiques & More

Tonya Yates’ background is fine design, from the design of homes to creation of events to home staging. She is a one-woman ‘package’, offering a wide range of interior design options to clients, both large and small, residential and commercial. She is bringing all those skills to 616 Texas. The formerly mauve-colored space has been transformed using a color palette that is both unexpected and striking; dark green and teal cover the ceiling and walls, now anchored to a neutral gunmetal gray floor.

The interior comes together.

Construction of the greenery walls is still underway and items for the display windows are still being moved in, but it is easy to envision what the space will be and how it will function. Up to 24 individual shops will house everything from clothing to home goods, jewelry to candles, art to personal care items. The concept is similar to the popular Painted Tree Boutiques in Houston (see story below).

Working on the greenery walls to divide the shops.

Ten of the spaces have been leased, leaving 14 traditional spaces and several vertical ones. Spaces can start at 10×8 and can expand to fit the needs of the shop. The base price is $5 per foot and 10% of sales for the traditional spaces, $2.50 per square foot and 10% of sales for the linear (vertical) ones. Tonya has special pricing for those who opt in now for a 6- or 12- month lease.

One of the display windows at 616 Texas St.

Included in the lease price is a single Point of Sale (POS) system and a full time sales associate. Individual shop owners will have the luxury of coming and going, choosing to be in their shop or not, knowing that Refine Design staff will handle questions and sales for them. Yates says the POS system will also keep up with inventory; even print out labels.

Refine Design owner Tonya Yates (right), and Brandy Harper, Lofts at 624 manager.

Plans are for a mid-May opening and initial Refine Design hours will be Monday-Fridays 10 am – 6 pm and Saturdays, 10 am- 7 pm. Interested in getting more details about a space at 616 Texas or in the Beauty Bar concept planned for next door? Contact Tonya Yates here. 


The Boutiques of Texas Street- first posted Dec. 16, 2021

A new marketplace is coming to the beautiful buildings at 616 and 620 Texas Street. The ground floors of the deep-fronted 2-story Zodiag Building and the 3-story  building adjacent to the Lofts at 624 are being reimagined by businesswoman Tonya Yates as the the Refine Design Boutiques. Yates and husband Mark will soon be the new owners of the three buildings that make up the Lofts commercial space and high end apartments. “I’ve been thinking about things to do with that great space since we started looking at the buildings,” Tonya told me.

She is in the planning stages of a concept that will play on the high visibility location and available square footage and make it available to retailers, artists and others who crave an upscale, functional brick-and-mortar space that won’t break the bank. Her idea is spaces that can be configured according to space needs, but will look like a million dollars. “I plan to have a single cashier working every day who will handle the transactions for all of the spaces,” Tonya says. “That way, the boutique owner won’t have to be here, they can be at their other job while making money here.”

Inside the Painted Tree Boutiques, Houston.

The concept will be very much like the Painted Tree Boutiques in Houston.” The Painted Tree is touted as ‘the Big Way to Shop Small’; hundreds of shops under one roof featuring a huge variety of home decor, fashion items and gifts. This ‘co-retailing’ has been a hit around the country, a way for small business owners to test business models and merchandise and to make money in their ‘shop’ while working their other day jobs. “I won’t be trying to compete with local vintage and antique malls,” Tonya says. “Our boutiques will be a different type of concept.”

Tonya is currently space planning the Refine Design Boutiques for 25+ vendor areas; that number could change depending on the size of spaces vendors would like. She would love to bring in a food or beverage vendor – a smoothie shop or cupcake bar- that would help encourage foot traffic and lingering. She will already have help in that regard by the strong foot traffic created by Rhino Coffee, just next door.

 

The overall look of the space will play on greens and the outdoors. Tonya wants to bring the outside in with a live wall inside 620 Texas just as you walk in, hanging wood chairs and vendor spaces set off with cedar casing and faux boxwood hedges. Lots of wonderful lights and large industrial fans will complete the look, but inside their spaces, vendors will be able to create whatever feel they wish. “I would love to see interest from people who sell candles, socks, jewelry, interior design services, hats, olives…there are just a variety of things that would work well together.”

She intends to create a pass through that will allow easy back-and-forth to the Zodiag Building, home to the new Jess and Jane Beauty Bar that will offer facials and other beauty treatments.

In addition, Tonya plans to add some small kiosks to the large lobby at the Lofts of 624. If you are interested in talking to her about any of these spaces, she would love to hear from you, to help create an area that will be perfect for your needs. Contact her here.