Veranda Taps Local Mercy Goods to Beautify New Amenity Center
July 15, 2019
Visitors to The Cottage House, Veranda’s newly opened amenity complex, will notice many beautiful things but pride of place has been given to two pieces of furniture created by social enterprise businessMercy Goods Co.
Founded in 2017 by Zach and April Lambert, Mercy Goods teaches carpentry and furniture design to at-risk youth, providing them with employment, job-training and mentorship opportunities.
“We apply commercial strategies to maximize improvements to financial, social and environmental well-being,” Zach said. “I’ve always built furniture and it was something I could teach. Through partnerships with Attack Poverty, St. John’s United Methodist Church and Lamar Consolidated High School where my wife teaches, we are able to help students learn a trade and get that first line on a resume.”
Mercy Goods operates a workshop and showroom in the Alive building owned by St. John’s United Methodist Church in Historic Richmond. There, Zach and other volunteers teach students to create everything from cutting boards to dining room tables.
“Mercy Goods is a work-study program,” Lambert said. “Students go to school and with an off period in the afternoon, then they come work at Mercy Goods learning to produce handmade custom furniture.”
For Veranda, Lambert and his crew of five students created a custom oak and steel community table and matching bench inspired by the amenity center’s farmhouse style.
The table is located in the main room of The Cottage House and will provide a place for residents to sit and mingle. The facility also includes a cardio and circuit-training room with a massage suite, a multi-purpose meeting room and reception area, a play area and a 3,250-square-foot covered patio.
“We are proud to be part of the Richmond community,” said Trey Reichert, Vice President and General Manager of Veranda. “When it came to decorating The Cottage House, it seemed only natural to incorporate pieces that were produced locally. Mercy Goods created exactly what we were looking for. That we could have that and help out students attending our local high school was a bonus.”
Currently, people looking to commission furniture must make an appointment but Lambert says the Mercy Goods store will be open to the public soon. It will be stocked with goods created by the students. The proceeds will be used to pay students, provide training and purchase materials.
“We are open for business,” Lambert said. “We invite people to come out and purchase these unique pieces that do good at the same time. We’re also looking for volunteers to mentor and work alongside our student employees as well as donations of tools and equipment. Anything you do will give disadvantaged youth an opportunity to be successful.”