#1 Site for Fort Bend County

Mercy Goods - Transforming More Than Just Objects

Nestled in the midst of Historic Richmond, across from Blockhouse Coffee and Kitchen, at 501 Morton Street, please welcome one of Ft. Bend's newest ventures, Mercy Goods. The storefront for this business showcases handmade woodwork, furniture, clothing, and jewelry, and is the result of a beautiful community partnership between Attack Poverty, a local non-profit addressing the needs of under resourced communities, St. John’s United Methodist Church, and Mercy Goods founder Zach Lambert.

Zach began furniture building in 2013. The idea of Mercy Goods sprang up from a family owned and operated furniture making business that originated in Austin. Zach states, "My family always felt like as people, we all do good deeds, but we do them to perpetuate Mercy in the world, not just to do good things."

Zach and his wife April have been married for 15 years. They have three children ( 6th grade boy, 3rd grade boy, kindergarten girl). His wife is a teacher for Lamar Consolidated. They moved here from Austin about 3 years ago to help start the Renaissance Church here in Richmond. Zach and his family feel right at home in historic Richmond of Fort Bend County. It reminds him of Austin, back in his childhood days of the early 90s with its small town, familial feeling and friendly neighborhood appeal. Zach says confidently, "This is home for us. Our kids are comfortable and we enjoy a complete peace that this where were meant to be!"

The sense of communal pride and peace is something Mercy Goods wants to foster. Zach states "Our main focus is we want to create jobs and hire people. Through employment we want to offer skill building, where we can teach trades such as designing and building furniture, learn carpentry, and woodwork while also providing mentorship."

During my time in the workshop area of the location, I couldn't help but smile witnessing the dual meanings of terms like "restore” and “transform". On the day of my visit, the primary project was a large piece of raw tree trunk lumber that had been brought in. Zach demonstrated to two young men how they'd need sand and smooth out the rough exterior of the wood. In the days and weeks to follow, that raw, rugged lumber would be made new, transformed into a working desk or table. And seeing how Zach patiently yet thoroughly passed on his skills, and how attentive and appreciative his workers were, the big picture purpose of Mercy Goods seemed crystal clear. Zach explains, "We apply the same principles and process to the object of wood, that we do to our own humanity. The lumber gets put through a process. It allows itself to be refined and allows others to be a part of its ultimate development. The wood comes in raw, and is made useful and new. At Mercy Goods we build, refine, mold, and make new; not just with the objects we work on, but with the area students we employ."

Zach on helping young people: "Through Mercy Goods we're working with the area school district to identify students we can hire, and then we can not only be a positive experience for them but also that all important first line on a resume, their first job. Our hope is that they can learn a valuable skill or two that they can take with them on their next stage of life."

I asked Zach, ideally, what type of high school students are Mercy Goods trying to find. He reiterated that they are actively working with the area school districts to find male and female students who want to learn a skill, could really use a job, and someone who would benefit from mentorship. The districts help us find these kids, and we then partner with the schools to enroll the student in classes that correspond with the actual application of the skill here at Mercy Goods. The goal is for our location to become setup as a practicum location, so that not only will the kids we hire be earning income, but they will also earn class credit for doing so.

Yet another component for high school youth to consider, is that unlike a multitude of other employment options that exist, the folks at Mercy Goods firmly believe that their employees should be able to earn school credit, apply their skill while at work, but then still have as full of a high school experience as possible. Zach says, "We want for our employees to hone their skills for sure, but we also want them to be able to clock out and return to being teenagers again. We won’t have them working a lot of late nights, because we want them to enjoy this part of their lives. We want them going to football games and proms and homecomings, and not feel like they have to live their work".

Mercy Goods sells furniture and woodwork but also jewelry and clothing made by not only their employees but other local vendors. Zach has a very positive, affirming vision that he brings to Fort Bend County. He sums it up, “We want our location to be a creative hub for this community. Our goal is to showcase and sell products made by a cooperation between our own employees and vendors localized right here in the county, the surrounding Houston area, and even other parts of Texas, truly a community collective."

Their doors officially opened with a beautiful ribbon cutting ceremony held last Fall.

To learn more about Attack Poverty, go to:

https://attackpoverty.org/

To learn more about Mercy Goods, how you can support their efforts, go to:
https://mercygoods.co/