You may have noticed there have been some big changes in The Cottage Shop recently, many of those are thanks to the volunteer efforts of Dr. Steven Curley and his wife, Natalie. Steven heard about The Women’s Home through one of our other volunteers, Frandale Johnson, who’s a friend of Natalie’s.
A surgeon for over 25 years, Dr. Curley’s expertise focuses on treating patients with cancer focused on the liver and bile ducts. In addition to his surgical work, he teaches at the Baylor College of Medicine and heads a laboratory focused on researching less toxic treatments for cancer patients. Steven became driven to research and improve quality of treatment for cancer patients when his 18 year old cousin lost her battle to cancer while he was still a surgical resident. After witnessing the emotional and physical impact on his cousin as well as their family, Steven felt compelled to do better for those facing cancer.
Dr. Curley was drawn to The Women’s Home’s work when he recognized our own dedication to improving the lives of those facing hardships. Naturally a hands on sort of person, Steven set to work building The Cottage Shop new displays and assembling additional racks for the shop. Steven also had new carpet installed for the boutique section of The Shop, to better emphasize our stock of high fashion merchandise. A surgeon by profession and a carpenter recreationally, Steven enjoys the immediate results that come from building something with his own hands. “It’s gratifying to actually build, repair, or paint something that has an immediate impact in improving appearance and functions in the shop!”
For the outside of The Cottage Shop the Curley’s commissioned artist Homer Allen, a former billboard painter turned full-time artist, to create two outdoor art installations for the front and back walls of the shop. The first of the paintings depicts twin monarch butterflies arising from the petals of yellow, orange, and crimson chrysanthemums. The 8 foot by 8 foot canvas was installed September 20 on the front of The Shop. The second piece is set for installation in late October.
The Curley’s efforts included not only physical improvements, but analytical ones as well. They compiled data on The Shop’s customers and conducted data survey of The Shop’s sales rates alongside several of our sister resale and thrift shops in the Montrose area. They also analyzed how the neighborhood’s demographics have changed in recent years and how better to serve their shopping interests. They used the results to create recommendations on how The Cottage Shop can better serve our customers, so we can continue to support our work with Houston women.