If you’ve lived in Fort Worth for any amount of time, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Gavrel Furs. With local roots dating back to 1912, the business has shifted from being hatters and dry cleaners to being a premier furrier that is thriving well into the 21st century. We had a chance to speak with owner Bob Rooke, and from the expert staff to the variety of services, it’s clear that Gavrel Furs is a name that’s synonymous with quality care.
When J.G. Gavrel expanded his father’s original hatter and dry cleaning business in 1946, he built a three-story building on West 7th St. near downtown Fort Worth. With the new space, he offered dry cleaning on the first floor, a fur workroom on the second floor, and cold fur storage in the basement. In the ‘90s, after leasing the space to other furriers in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Gus Gavrel, a grandson of the original Gavrel brothers, re-opened Gavrel furs with partner Bob Rooke. And it’s still a family operation to this day. Bob says, “for nearly 30 years, my family has owned and operated Gavrel Furs. My father, mother, sister, and even some of my children have worked here at some point.”
Gavrel Furs is a true furrier. What does that mean to those who aren’t in the business? From cleaning and glazing to repairs, alterations and re-styling, “We do everything,” says Rooke.
We definitely had more questions for Bob about the business of furs. While some of Gavrel Furs’ services are trade secrets, Rooke was happy to share a few expert tips. “Don’t let them sit and rot in your closet. You wouldn’t skip an oil change on your car, so why wouldn’t you take care of your furs?” Cold storage is like a walk-in refrigerator, and according to Rooke, “it keeps the pelts from drying out and protects from moth damage.” He recommends bringing them in the spring for storage and pulling them out in the fall—just in time for the cooler weather.
We also wanted to know about the other services, most importantly the re-styling service. What does re-styling mean? It means you can take an old fur coat or jacket and have it turned into just about anything from a new vest to teddy bears to pillows, ear muffs, blankets and much more. Bob says, “ If you can imagine it, we can make it. We’ve even made a mountain man's arrow quiver.”
Another unique service? Gavrel Furs offers a delivery service that operates in nearly all of Tarrant County and Parker County. They’ll pick up your furs for service or cold storage and drop them off when you need them back. They also have furs available for purchase in their 3,000 sq. foot Camp Bowie retail space, which opened in 2012. From new to pre-owned and custom furs made on location, you’ll find what you want.
Gavrel Furs has a loyal customer base that continues to thrive due to word-of-mouth recommendations, as well as a (pre-pandemic) presence in the local DFW fashion scene. Bob has goals for the business’s future, too. “We need to educate the younger generation. People in their ‘30s, ‘40s and even ‘50s might not have been taught about the importance of maintenance and cold storage,” he says. “Furs can last for many decades if properly cared for, and I see many customers bringing me their mother's or grandmother's fur, which we restyle for them or perhaps make heirloom teddy bears for members of the family as mementos of a loved one.”
Find out more by stopping by the store located at 6333 Camp Bowie Blvd. Suite 216, or visit gavrelfurs.com.