A family tradition continues In Historic Downtown Richmond
Michael Joseph is following a family tradition by adding his personal footprint to downtown Historic Richmond.
Joseph’s family has had a store or stores in downtown Richmond since 1903, even though each generation made changes, additions and subtractions, depending on their interest.
“My great-grandmother immigrated to America and landed in Richmond. She had a push cart and sold coffee and candy up and down the street. Then she earned enough to open a confectionary in 1903, which was the first in a long family history of shops,” said Michael Joseph, owner, Joseph’s Furniture and Gifts, Historic Downtown Richmond.
Michael’s grandfather added several saloons and a grocery store and his father, Richard Joseph, after graduating from Texas A&M, kept the grocery store and became a cotton buyer. Later Richard added a real estate business and in the 1960s he opened Joseph’s Furniture and Gifts, which remains open today and was expanded into what was once the grocery store. Yet, things are about to change again.
“Joseph’s Furniture and Gifts is having a major sale, to clear out the merchandise to make way for the changes. First, we will be opening a coffee shop, in the front portion of Joseph’s. We’ll have specialty coffees and the regulars, and hope to serve the first customer in the spring,” Joseph said.
Joseph and his other half, Kathryn Joseph were recently in Italy, trying different coffees.
“We haven’t decided on all of the coffees yet, but they will be good,” Kathryn said.
Every Wednesday for decades, the leaders and men of the community had coffee with Richard Joseph at his Furniture and Gifts store, a tradition that continues today.
“I think my father would be very pleased about the coffee shop, since having coffee with people in the community was something he cherished and enjoyed, and that is something we are looking forward to, having coffee with the community,” Joseph said.
The next project on Joseph’s drawing board is a cigar store, complete with a walk-in humidor. There will also be a cigar lounge, with exceptional ventilation and air scrubbers, so the air will always be clean.
“The Cigar Lounge will be a large area, with a flat screen TV, couches, conference table, and a game table, which can be rented for special events,” Joseph said.
There will also be office space in the back for rent.
However, one of the main highlights will be an English Gun Emporium for antique and traditional guns, shooting wear such as tweed English jackets, and gun accessories such as gun cases and gun cleaners. The Emporium will open in the fall of 2012.
Joseph noted, he first got the bug for antique English guns 20 years ago when he received his first English gun, which he still has.
“The first time I held the gun, I knew there was a difference, it is the difference betweena Timex and Rolex, both keep time very well, both do the job, but there is just a difference,” Joseph said.
The guns, mainly English Sporting guns, will have been serviced and useable. The guns are 100% man-made and have survived 100-150 years, which testifies to their quality and workmanship. These guns are in limited supply and the Joseph’s have spent many hours searching for them all over England and it has not been easy, according to Joseph.
Joseph will also have a store in London, and with this connection, the couple hopes to arrange bird hunting trips to England and around the world, to hunt the way the English did, with the traditions of 100 years ago.
“My London partner is Diggory Hadoke, who writes articles for gun magazines in London and America. When we open the store, he’ll be here for a book signing in Oct. 2012. We’ll also be bringing other people from London over and have special and famous guests here as well,” Joseph said.
Kathryn added, “These guns have a lot of history and are very interesting. There is just something about having and using a gun that possibly a Duke or an Earl or someone famous once owned and used hunting.”
Michael, a graduate of the University of Texas, has been a pilot for Southwest Airlines for the past 21 years and is a captain. Kathryn is a graduate of Texas A&M, and spent the first 21 years of her career in human resources for Morgan Stanley.
“We met on a blind date. But every time we were supposed to go out, something would come up and we had to cancel. Finally, I called her and told her I had a flight to pick someone up and asked if she wanted to go, and she said yes. So our first date was in an airplane,” Joseph said.
Now, 25 years later, they are working together to add their personal touches to two blocks in downtown Richmond at the intersection of 2nd and Morton Streets.
The new additions to the Josephs’ stores will all have gifts like Joseph’s carries now. There will gifts in the coffee shop, cigar and gun shop, according to Kathryn.
“My father loved Richmond, and felt it was an honor to live and work here. I understand that because Kathryn and I feel the same, we love this area too, and we are excited about the new stores, and excited about what the future holds,” Joseph said.
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