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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Moving In On Texas Avenue

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Bringing Life to Old Carriage Shop

It should come as no surprise to anyone that a man who makes his living shaping wood would purchase an old building on one of the still-derelict blocks of downtown Shreveport to reshape into his business.

Marty Park, owner of Woodshapers Remodeling, recently moved his custom cabinetry company from a cramped, leased building on Kings Highway to a spacious, 12,000-square-foot building at 1035 Texas Avenue – one of the only now-inhabited locations on that side of the street. It is, however, on the edge of the developing Shreveport Common.

“We love it,” Park said. “For us, it was move-in ready. We have some roof repairs to do, and then we have the façade to do on the front.”

Park made his move in mid-January, and their first order of business was to get all of the custom cabinetry machinery up and running.

“Now we are looking at making half the building into lease space for anybody who needs it – artists or something,” he said. “Maybe storage. We haven’t figured that out yet.”

Park said the new building is four times larger than the previous location.

“We are now in a wide-open space,” he said. “We have two big bay doors on the front where we can pull in and move material. We will be covered when we load our cabinets on the trailers.”

Parking is one of the few drawbacks. However, Park said they are working on that.

“It’s just a great, old building,” he said. “It used to be an old carriage shop.”

In fact, he said, a sign remains on the back wall today to let people know where the back portion was an old mule barn.

Park intends to bring the front of the building back to its original “look” as much as possible.

“We will paint it, put in a new overhead door and replace a window,” he said. “Just bring it back to the original condition. There’s a cool place to hang a sign out front, and we will paint our logo on the front of the building.”

He describes the style as “old downtown Shreveport.”

“I love these old buildings, and I love downtown Shreveport,” Park said. “I really want to get our building looking like the original, and then maybe more people will start doing the same thing down here.

“This part of Texas (Avenue), I mean, there is so much history here,” he continued. “I just really wish Shreveport would start recognizing that and do something to promote that and get people interested from different parts of the country where they might want to come here and do something cool.”

Park said he believes Municipal Auditorium and Shreveport Common will work together to be a catalyst for the area.

“I’ve heard of other buildings that are going to be renovated across the Avenue from the park,” he said. “I’ve seen some plans on that. It’s pretty cool.”

In the meantime, Park, who has grown his business to 14 employees will continue building new cabinets while he also remodels and “reshapes” old woodwork.

“We have beautiful homes in Shreveport, and we can reproduce the woodwork in these homes – the original molding, anything that may need to be repaired,” he said. “We can take care of anything with wood in it. We can shape it and reshape it.”

Park said he has been in the cabinetry business “all my life,” but he started Woodshapers in 1984. They spent more than 15 years at the Kings Highway location. This, he said, will be his final move.

“This is just a great place to be,” Park said of the old downtown location. “It has so much character – it fits us. It just feels right. We love it here.”


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