NOLA Boards Opens new Flagship Store on Magazine Street in New Orleans

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New 1,800 square foot location brings vision to life with expansion of custom hand-crafted cutting boards, countertop showroom, dining furniture and event space along with areas that showcase local artisans.

We really envision this space as being interactive and educational about all the different woods we offer."

Owner Mandy Simpson and business partner/husband Daren Sumrow announced the opening of their new flagship store on Saturday, November 14th, 2020, at 4228 Magazine Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. The NOLA BOARDS product line includes custom hand-crafted cutting boards, countertops and dining furniture. Hours of operation are 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday, Sunday 11am-6pm.

“It's quite an expansion for us. We really envision this space as being interactive and educational about all the different woods we offer,” said Simpson. The new 1,800 square foot location will allow for product expansion, a countertop showroom, space for cooking/demonstration classes and other events. Additionally, the design includes space dedicated to showcasing local artisans and supporting artists in the community by carrying their products that focus on cooking themes. Another vision coming to life is the NOLA Boards KIDS space. “We have dedicated a section to the youngest chefs in the house with a play area and lots of fun tools for them to experience hands-on the joy of cooking,” Simpson commented. Beyond the cooking focus, they are also launching NOLA Boards Garden for their ‘green thumb’ customers. As part of their unique design experience, clients can hand pick the wood for their dining room tables from live edge slabs of Louisiana Sinker Cypress and other special woods.

Founded in 2014 on a whim Mandy Simpson asked her husband, Daren, owner of New Orleans Woodworking, to make a cutting board for a friend. Woodworking has been a part of Daren’s life since childhood starting with making products for his mom to sell at craft fairs and moving on to having built out several bars and restaurants around New Orleans. He continues to mentor the younger woodworkers in the shop and ensures the quality of all their products.

Recognizing the unique beauty of this original cutting board, Simpson shared pictures with friends and family, and requests started coming in. At the time she was still immersed in her career as a heart transplant social worker, but the couple decided to start selling cutting boards on the weekends at local markets as a 'side hustle.' The response was overwhelmingly positive and as demand increased, Simpson decided to step fully into the world of entrepreneurship starting her brand of handmade culinary tools, kitchen countertops and dining furniture. In 2016 the first location of Nola Boards was opened on Magazine Street. A second location was opened in the French Quarter from 2017-2020. And in 2019 NOLA Boards opened a location in Baton Rouge just outside the Mall of Louisiana. With an eye toward their bigger vision, the original Magazine Street store closed to make way for their new flagship location at 4228 Magazine Street.

NOLA Boards is 100% woman owned and certified. With the company's growth over the last 6 years, New Orleans Woodworking now exclusively manufactures NOLA Boards products. Together the companies employ 15 team members, as well as seasonal help. The product line has grown since 2014, expanding from the original cutting boards to now include butcher block countertops, dining room tables and bar carts. Simpson added, “Our main focus in the last 2 years has been the countertops. We take pride in not only their handmade quality but the artistic vision behind making this ‘functional art’ as our customers have branded them.”

Top sellers continue to be some of the originally designed cutting boards- especially those with the historic Sinker Cypress in them, along with their Carnival boards which incorporate a wood called Purple Heart. Products made in the mesmerizing end grain patterns are also very popular, but their countertops are especially in demand right now. “One thing we are very excited to be bringing back to NOLA is our large selection of bar products that include a wide variety of cocktail tinctures from shrubs to bitters to syrups and everything in between-perfect for the cocktail enthusiast,” Simpson added.

And the COVID impact? Simpson shared that they are extremely grateful to the community of home chefs around the country for their support during COVID. With more and more people cooking at home and focusing on home renovations, NOLA Boards has been fortunate to have experienced respectable growth.
The future for NOLA Boards holds expansion to other cities in the southern region. The new website recently launched at http://www.nolaboards.com.

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Elizabeth Dee Clubb
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