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Third-Generation Retailer Opens New Chapter: Houston's J. Sussan Interiors

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Janet Sussan-Berman in her new store

As Sussan Furniture in Dickinson, Texas, finished a successful liquidation in February (2011) that marked the end of the three-generation family business in Galveston County that dated to 1938, owner Janet Sussan-Berman wasn’t behind the register.

She was 40 miles away, establishing a new business, J. Sussan Interiors (2992 Kirby Drive in Houston’s Upper Kirby neighborhood), which opened in April. It follows a business plan that her late father, Donald Sussan, had suggested years earlier—specializing in higher-end products with design advice and custom draperies and furnishings. Those elements were the strengths of Sussan Furniture, which also sold a wide variety of furniture, and have always been Sussan-Berman’s favorite aspects of the business.

She calls the new 7,500-square-foot J. Sussan Interiors store a labor of love. She worked on it after hiring Planned Furniture Promotions (PFP), Enfield, CT, to manage a liquidation sale at Sussan Furniture, which had lost its lease on a 60,000-square-foot former Wal-Mart store she had operated for 24 years. “Because Planned Furniture Promotions had such a good and competent management team running the (liquidation) sale, it gave me the freedom to work to develop the new business. I was able to spend several months doing that,” she said. “I trusted them completely and they listened to my suggestions. After 73 years in business, the Sussan family name means a lot to our customers.”

Tom Liddell, PFP vice president for sales and marketing, said, “The most gratifying aspect of our business is helping successful retailers reinvent their businesses. For many retailers, it’s a clean, fresh start.”

Sussan-Berman said Donald Sussan served as her mentor after his retirement, and several years ago he advised her to establish a smaller location to focus on the design trade and shoppers who sought out Sussan for its design consultation, unique décor items and custom furnishings and draperies. “He was so smart, and he understood that the business was changing, with so many big-box stores offering basically the same products, and there are a lot of customers who want a different approach.”

She describes J. Sussan Interiors a European eclectic fashion business with a fun and up-to-date style that’s been attracting designers and hip homeowners from across the region since it began operations in April. 

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