An antique retailer wants to give Forest Hill a jumpstart.
Southside residents Marcel Outeiro and Mark Robertson are converting a long vacant Forest Hill house into Nest, a retail hub for local art, jewelry, garden supplies and home furnishings. The owners are shooting for a March 1 opening.
The 2,600-square-foot space at 3404 Semmes Ave. is down the street from Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream and Parkside Cafe.
Robertson said he wants Nest to be the catalyst that turns the Forest Hill and Woodland Heights areas into a vibrant commercial strip.
“I think this is a prime area for revitalization,” said Robertson, 43. “I’ve lived in the neighborhood since 1989, when there wasn’t much here. Now you have people moving in, it’s really an up-and-coming area.”
Nest will be stocked with pieces Robertson and Outerio have collected over the years, and they plan to accept items on consignment. To test the market, they set up a temporary booth at the West End Antiques Mall.
“It’s going to be a farmer’s market for artisan products,” Roberston said of the new venture.
The shop will be at least the second new retailer to test the waters in that part of town. Last year, Coqui Cyclery opened at 3416 Semmes Ave.
Outerio, 45, said part of Nest would be a gallery space for Richmond artists, about 40 of whom have expressed interest in showing there.
A Richmond native who began collecting antiques at age 13, Robertson has a background in retail. Outerio moved to the area from San Francisco and worked in the floral design business before striking out on his own.
Nest has been in the works for about two years, and Robertson said they financed the project out of personal savings.
“Our strength is taking the biggest bunch of mismatched things you’ve ever seen and turning them into something really great,” Robertson said.