“Some of us have never really grown up and we are not going to—life is too short not to enjoy each day and that’s what we do here.”
-Deb Beckmam Cockrell
It’s not often walking into a store sweeps a shopper away to another place, another magical land where nothing but joy and all things wonderful reside. In Shreveport, such a place exists—The Enchanted Garden.
For the past 37 years, Deb Beckman Cockrell has worked 70 plus hours a week to build her boutique, The Enchanted Garden, into something completely unique. She has successfully done this with many devoted customers and second generations now gracing her door stoop.
The story of The Enchanted Garden begins with a young Deb, a girl but 6 years old. This ambitious little girl would roam the streets of Erie and Historic South Highlands going door-to-door peddling the trinkets and gifts she made by hand. Her proud parents would host boutique showings for their daughter inviting friends and neighbors. South Highlands has always been a tight-knit community of neighbors, and the young Deb Beckman had a supportive neighborhood who believed in her and bought her wares. She and her brother also made a newspaper to circulate in the neighborhood with news of the latest puppies on the block and dates of boutique showings.
Fast forward to college aged Deb who had worked in her brother, Dennis Beckman’s San Francisco boutique for a stint and completed college in Fayetteville, AR and was now ready to come home and open up her own shop.
Her banker, who helped get the store off the ground, happened to live down the street. He had watched her over the years, and the young, ambitious entrepreneur was now ready to take on the world. He believed in her and so, The Enchanted Garden was born.
There was nothing like The Enchanted Garden in the region 37 years ago when the store opened. This truly one-of-a-kind, fantasy land is felt the moment one steps through the door of the shop. Deb wanted a place where people could see things that they have never seen before. She started with one building with a front room and thought that was all she needed. However, four years later she had nine rooms and a baby to fill with her love as they had purchased the building next to theirs and built what they call a “blessing hallway” to connect the two buildings.
With her father sending strangers off the street to his daughter’s shop, her mother who worked at the shop with her for many, many years, and eventually her brother Dennis who joined her from San Francisco, as well as the devotion of her childhood neighborhood, Deb’s contagious happy heart had all of the ingredients to become a legend in Shreveport.
Traveling to markets from the West to the East coast, Deb and Dennis are self-proclaimed “double trouble” searching for unique items that Shreveporters have not seen before. Boxes from all over the world pour into the store with at least 50 a week full of treasures for every corner and crevice of the store. They often find specific items at market for loyal customers knowing their singular tastes which is a thrill to them when they get to show the customer what they found—just like a treasure hunt.
Seasonally changing the decor, if there is cause to celebrate, be assured that The Enchanted Garden has a theme and plenty of glitter to make life sparkle during that season. Deb considers her shop a healing garden, one that’s good for the soul by giving love freely to each and every customer since this special place is much like a home where customers meet and greet while Dennis offers cookies he makes daily.
The pride that Deb has in her community shows in all that she does. From donating to just about every function in Shreveport to attending the functions and sending the tourists to other local shops—Deb said she is here to promote the cities of Shreveport/Bossier. What is alarming to her, is the rate at which locally owned shops are closing. As she pulled a hand-written list of about fifty local shops, there were many lines drawn through the names.
Her store is what she has felt a boutique should always be. As I interviewed her and Dennis, a young child was flying on a broom while his mother happily shopped and two separate customers visited while their gifts were being complimentary wrapped. All of them lost in this place’s charm with umbrellas that change color in the rain and scarves hand made in Nepal, with room after room of gifts in all ranges—this is a one stop shop. Deb shared that some out-of-towners even spend an entire Saturday shopping for Christmas making use of the complimentary gift wrap.
Deb has mastered something few have—the art of gift giving. The magic that is The Enchanted Garden is not limited to the wares that are being sold, but rather comes from the love that is shared. It is the love for others shown through the art of gift giving that makes The Enchanted Garden so special. Each gift is a treasure and treated as such there. Deb is the keeper of smiles and encourager of the love that comes with bearing gifts.
Generous and kind, loving and free spirited—Deb Beckman Cockrell’s The Enchanted Garden is magical because she pours every ounce of love and thoughtfulness into each item in her store, each gift that is wrapped, and each person that walks through her doors.