If you've driven down Yale lately, you've probably noticed the evolution of a particular warehouse across from Heights Mercantile. Infused with a $250,000-plus investment, the formerly abandoned industrial space has transformed with skylights, landscaping, a spacious patio, and a modern, geometric mural of a Southwestern agrarian scene by local artist Adrian Landon Brooks that spans the entire facade.
This is the new home of Forth + Nomad, the high-end marketplace for hand-crafted goods that's lived across the street in the Heights Mercantile development since its 2017 opening. Then, husband-and-wife co-founders Andy and Morgan Sommer "felt that Houston's arts and maker community ... was underserved," Andy said in a press release. "We had no idea we'd be tapping into such a vibrant, passionate maker community that's been craving something different for a while."
Indeed, there was enough interest in the rotating, unique inventory of locally made goods, from ceramics to tapestries to jewelry, to open a kiosk in IAH last year and, now, a move across the street into the new flagship space that, at 4,068 square feet, is six times the size of the current Heights Mercantile boutique, which we featured on our May 2018 cover.
All that new space means more goods (more than 3,000 products from 100 brands) and services, too, like a "Market Bar," where customers can create their own products from a rotating menu of items like leather goods, candles, rings, and ceramics; a rentable, white infinity wall for local photographers; a rentable podcast studio; "BrandSpaces," where brands can rent out a dedicated section of the shop for their own "store within a store;" and Forth + Nomad Gallery, a rotating local art exhibit.
The Sommers signed a 10-year lease at the new property, which was designed by Matthew Oakes and features exposed concrete floors, staging lights, hand-crafted maple display walls and interior furnishings by Year of None's Mikey Kendrick. The shop will vacate its current Heights Mercantile space on May 4 for the freestanding flagship.
And there's more: A week later, Forth + Nomad will bring a dose of the Heights' funky, artisanal vibe to the ritziest zip code with an eight-month pop-up in swanky River Oaks District. That store, a 1,022-square-foot space in unit F110, will carry hand-crafted jewelry, ceramics, home goods, and apothecary products until January 15, 2020.
"We think the River Oaks community will really appreciate what Forth + Nomad has to offer: handmade, local, and small-batch goods," says co-founder Morgan Sommer. "We've done all the work to ensure that everything in our store is of the utmost quality, and we're so excited to share Houston's incredibly maker community with River Oaks."
Forth + Nomad's new Heights flagship is at 731 Yale St. The ROD pop-up at 4444 Westheimer opens May 11.