FROM THE FLOOR UP: Darby’s Furniture and Interiors grand opening is July 6

Published 4:15 pm Friday, June 30, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Darby Short knows what she likes, and that’s what she buys and sells in her stores.

It’s a good thing, because what she likes, other people like, too. They like it a lot.

Darby and her husband, Dennis Short, have been operating businesses in five buildings in the 400 block of Main Street, beginning with Darby’s Gifts at 410 Main St. 40 years ago.

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The store originally began 41 years ago in Winnsboro, but the Shorts moved it to downtown Natchez a year later.

Slowly but surely, she has moved into furniture sales and interior decoration.

In looking for a larger footprint, the Shorts considered moving their furniture business away from downtown Natchez.

“We were considering taking our furniture store to the old Kmart building, but we decided to reinvest in downtown Natchez and bought the Kimbrell’s building at 520 Main St.,” Darby said. “That building has 15,000 square feet and will be our main furniture showroom.”

Darby’s Gifts will remain at 410 Main St. and the Shorts will keep a furniture presence in the lower level of 427 Main St. The couple makes their home in the upstairs of that building.

Darby’s and her related businesses employ 14 people now, and that number is likely to grow. Including Darby, the new Darby’s Furniture and Interiors will employ four designers.

“You can walk in this building and be able to completely decorate your house from top to bottom, from lighting to mattresses, beds and bedding. This store basically will be a floor-up design center,” Darby said.

The Shorts have spent a lot of time getting their new location ready for a grand opening party set for Thursday at 520 Main St. from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

“We’ve had to do a pretty good amount of work. When you buy an old building like this, it’s surprise, surprise, surprise. When you get in these old buildings, it’s all about love. You have to come in here and show them a lot of love. We have completely redone all the walls, bathrooms and lighting,” she said. “The front façade of the building needed a good bit more work than we had anticipated.”

The grand opening party will be a good one and she hopes everyone comes to see the new store on July 6.

“We will have lots of good food and good drinks. It will be a very nice party. One of my sales reps, who is a good friend of mine, is coming to sing, so we will also have live music.

“My prayer is that people will be excited and really pleased with what we’ve done. For me, it’s about making people happy. I know it sounds corny, but that’s my whole drive — making people happy, making them feel better,” she said. “People are going to be amazed at this place. Knowing me and how I crowd stuff into my stores, they are going to be amazed at the walking around room.”

Darby’s Gifts and her current furniture and design offerings are known for their unique nature and quality.

“I just buy what I love. I buy what I love, and I just have kind of gone with that philosophy. In Natchez, we definitely need the support of our local people, but we need to be able to draw from a 150-mile radius. We must be worthy of people from Jackson and Baton Rouge, Monroe and Alexandria coming to shop here,” Darby said.