At Canal Furniture Liquidators (3534 Toulouse Street, 504-482-6851; www.canalfurnitureliquidators.com), customers can spend hours in the large warehouse store browsing everything from exercise machines to designer rugs. The majority of its furniture comes from area hotels.
The store was open for more than 40 years under the ownership of Louis "Vico" Marziale until 2013, when he sold the store and retired. New co-owners Holis Hannan, Chuck Pitard and Stacey Rogers have worked to make the showrooms easy to navigate.
"We opened a second floor — that was all storage," Hannan says. "It was more of a treasure hunt, I'd say."
Chairs are arranged in small seating areas, and lamps, appli-ances and other wares are organ-ized by category.
"The store is about recycling," Hannan says. "Instead of throwing things out, it's about recycling good furniture. And hotel furniture is some of the best, because it's meant to last."
Around 20 to 30 customers visit the store each day and most leave with a purchase, Hannan says. The store also supplies furniture to small hotels and restaurants.
"I love the customers," Hannan says. "I love helping people with interior design. I am also an artist; I did mural painting for 25 years, so it's hand-in-hand with helping people find cool things to make their houses look great."
After Hannan lost her teaching job at Delgado Community Col- lege due to budget cuts, she saw an opportunity to educate people at Canal Furni-ture Liquidators.
"At some point, we realized that we could have classes here," Hannan says.
This summer, artists will teach students to spruce up old furniture using mosaic tiles and chalk paint. Students will revamp back stock, new fixtures and redo old hotel furniture using crafting materials. Hotels redecorate every three to five years, Hannan says, and when they do, Canal Furniture Liqui-dator sells the old stock.
"The summer is when they do it," Hannan says. "We're going in there and providing a service by removing all the furniture from the hotel for them."
During liquidations, the store's usual crew of four expands to 16 and moves the furniture out of the hotels and into the warehouse. The warehouse is stuffed with hundreds of duplicates of lamps, ottomans, plush chairs, desks and appliances.
"We pretty much sell everything," Hannan says.