Valerie and Don Condon started Statue Makers back in 1966, and the family-owned and operated home and garden fountain and statuary business moved to its permanent location at 2003 Blalock Rd. in 1976. But after 53 years in business, Valerie has made the decision to retire and close operations as soon as inventory runs out.
“It’s kind of shocking to say that number out loud – 53 years is a long time. That in itself is quite a feat,” Valerie’s daughter, Sandra, said of the business, which specializes in garden fountain and statuary reproductions.
For more than five decades, the Condon family has served Houstonians through the creation of benches, urns, statuary, fountains, and more at their shop on Blalock Road. Manufacturing everything purely in concrete so as to make it durable against weather conditions, Valerie and Don created works for everyone from top architects and designers in the city to weekend gardeners.
The family has long prided themselves on producing a product with an old-world look – finishes not normally seen on concrete products. Many have an aged look from acid-washed finishes, others have an old stone finish or newer look of aged limestone or a grey stone finish.
From its beginnings as a small shop to a spot now occupying more than an acre on Blalock Road, the family has made its home in the community.
“Even after my dad passed (in 2005), my mom continued the business, as she loved what she was doing. It has been a part of her life since she was in her 20s,” Sandra said.
The family has also made a name for themselves by creating a quality product that becomes evident in the fine detail of their work. Selection is as varied as architectural fragments salvaged from demolitions, to urns and cherubs purchased at auctions and pieces brought to them for reproduction.
“My parents literally became master mold makers. They could make molds out of things that were so difficult and complex. It was almost like a Rubik’s Cube trying to put them together,” Sandra said. “They had to sit there, look at it, and visualize how a piece was going to come out. It truly became an amazing art form. What they were able to do from the beginning to now more than 50 years later was incredible.”
But it was never just Valerie and Don. Their children, including Sandra, Scott, and John have all had a hand in creating the store’s products in some capacity during Statue Makers’ 53-year run.
Winding paths throughout the property showcase the diverse craftsmanship line, which Sandra said became bigger than anyone could have imagined 53 years ago. From splashing fountains and garden animals to architectural accents, their displays are set in natural shaded settings throughout the property for customers to enjoy.
Over the years, customers have become family. Even Sandra’s kindergarten teacher has been coming to the shop for decades – which she believes says more about the trust the family has earned than any word-of-mouth statement ever could.
“The fact that it grew into what it is today is simply a testament to my parents – they really made it what it was,” she said. “We’ve had the same customers for years, and my mom has always loved that about the business.”
But, unfortunately all things must come to an end sometime. Valerie has run the store every day from open to close, with the help of loyal employees like Jessy, who has been with the company for more than 20 years.
In the end, 53 years was long enough, and she’d like to travel, see her kids and grandkids more – on her own terms. There is no set date for the shop’s closure, and inventory will be first come, first-serve. And though it’s the end of the shop, it might not mean the total end, as Sandra said the idea of an online shop has been tossed around.
“It really has become a wonderful part of all our lives,” she said. “As a family, we will truly miss the shop and all of our wonderful customers.”
For more information on the store, visit statuemakers.com or the shop at 2003 Blalock Rd.