Ed’s Emporium Continues Artistic Tradition
Carol Allen wanted something for her home. She ended up getting a business that’s now in its 40th year.
“About 50 years ago, my mom decided she wanted a Tiffany lamp,” said Eric Allen. “She sent my dad to the Broadmoor ‘Y’ to learn how to do stained glass, and this is what happened.”
“This” is Ed’s Emporium Art Glass Studio, at 2200 Barksdale Boulevard, Suite A, in Bossier City. Ed got so busy making glass items for his wife — and others — that he outgrew his backyard and went into business for himself. Both Carol and Ed have since died. (“She passed away eight months later — from a broken heart.”) However, the store — and their talents — remain alive, thanks to son Eric.
“It’s never mine,” Allen said. “It’s always my parents’ place.”
Eventually, Carol joined her husband in the business.
“The sign out there said Ed’s Emporium, but it should have said Ed and Carol’s Emporium. My mom was the director. She realized right off the bat that she didn’t particularly care for some of my dad’s work and that she needed to get involved with him — to help him pick colors. In fact, she started drawing up the designs. They were a team.
She would draw the design, pick out the glass for him, and he would build it.”
Running a glass store — Allen says it’s the largest art glass studio in the Ark-La-Tex — was never something he planned on doing. fifteen years ago, Allen was busy traveling the country as a technical project manager in the telecommunications industry.
“I worked all over the place. You name it, I’ve probably been there.”
But travel can wear a man down. So Allen saw an opportunity to come home for a year and help his folks ease into retirement.
“My parents were in their 80s,” Allen remembered. “I really thought I was just going to take a year off from work and come
in here and figure out what we were going to do with all this stuff, sell the building and be done with it.”
But a funny thing happened during that year. Allen had fun.
“I got to hang out with them for eight years and learn this business,” he said. “I basically get to carry on their legacy. Unfortunately, they’re not here, but their business is. I’m going to keep it going for as long as I possibly can.”
At Ed’s Emporium, you will find anything and everything having to do with glass. You want to make something out of glass? Ed’s Emporium has the supplies. You want Eric to make something out of glass for you? He’s happy to do so — with the help of his parents.
“My mom was our quality controller,” Allen said. “When I’m repairing things, I hear her in the background saying, ‘That’s not gonna do it. You need to fix it right.’ My dad was a stickler for doing the detailed part of it. I learned all that from them.
What’s cool is, I get to carry on what they did. My dad made every mistake there ever was in doing stained glass.
I learned from him how not to have those mistakes, so when I teach a class, I teach from his knowledge and my knowledge.”
That’s right. You, too, can make something out of glass.
Allen teaches a basic stained-glass class and a fuse glass class, “where you take a piece of glass and put it on another piece of glass and melt them together.” You will get something nice for your home, and Allen will enjoy a sense of satisfaction.
“Getting to see somebody’s face light up when they get their first project done, and they hold it up, and they’ve got a big smile on their face, I’m, like, ‘Cool!’” Allen said. “There’s another person that my mom and dad have affected.”
And while Allen charges for his classes, he knows they are also helping build his customer base for the future.
“I’ve got students who are out there going to these farmers’ markets and stuff, selling stained glass, and they buy glass from me to do that,” Allen said. “I don’t have a problem with that … I know from the get-go that, eventually, somebody is going to want to compete with me, which is fine. That way, I know that this business is growing. Generally, I’m going to probably sell them the glass. One way or the other, I’m still involved with them.”
To learn more about Ed’s Emporium, you may visit www.edsemporium.com.