Outside in Style will close with retirement

Outside in Style San Antonio

Photo: Outside in Style’s San Antonio store.

Karen Galindo is closing her family business of 42 years for just one reason: “I’m retiring,” she said.

The occasion is both sad and happy.

“It’s been a successful store, so it’s with a lot of sadness that we’re doing something else,” she said of Home Furnishings Association member Outside in Style, which actually has three stores – two in Austin, Texas, and one in San Antonio.

“It’s sad to say goodbye to our customers, vendors and employees.”

But she and her husband, Paul, are moving to New Mexico.

“We just love Santa Fe,” Karen declared.

The business was started by her parents, Matt and Muriel Wiggers, in 1977. It was called Greenhouse Mall, occupied 32 acres on the outskirts of Austin and specialized in home greenhouse hydroponic systems. It soon added outdoor furniture.

“Matt Wiggers quickly became known for his Dutch accent when he began recording radio spots and announced their iconic phone number, 250-0000,” Outdoor in Style said in a news release recalling its history. “His exuberant personality was well known to his customers.”

The phone number of the original Austin store is still the same, but a lot else has changed. In 1994, the founders passed the business to Karen, who had begun her career in sales as a sixth-grader. Karen and Paul restocked the store with high-quality outdoor furniture designed to stand up to the harsh central Texas climate. They opened their San Antonio store in 2004 and then a second Austin-area store in 2008, winning many awards along the way. In 2013, no longer selling greenhouses, they gave the business a new name: Outside in Style.

Now they’re holding a going-out-of-business sale until Oct. 27 or until they run out of merchandise. The latter possibility looks like a good bet.

“It’s going really well,” Karen said. “It’s exceeded our expectations by a lot. It was insane the first 10 days or so.”

She has told all 27 employees they still have a job until the end, and “we’re hoping they’ll stay until we close,” she said.

She never considered selling the business, preferring a complete break. “I love the furniture industry, I really do,” she offered, but she decided it was time to try something new. Sort of.

She plans to open a boutique shop in Santa Fe selling clothing, jewelry and leather products, so the woman who sold patio furniture as a pre-teen isn’t leaving the retail trade yet.