Surroundings first opened its doors in 1975 in an old duplex located on Sunset Blvd in Houston, Texas. Forty years later, Surroundings is still in the same location (except we've moved next door) and is still a family run business.
Robert Hawkins, the owner of the store has a passion for traveling to Latin America, with a deep love for all things Mexican. His interest in artisan crafts and folk art started with his time in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. While in the DR, he worked with jewelers to develop products for sale to help them lift themselves out of poverty. When he returned to the United States he wanted to continue his work with the indigenous people of Latin and South America. His interest in Mexico was a natural transition due to its proximity to Texas. Robert visits Mexico four or five times a year to meet with artisans that work with pottery, tin, textiles, and silver. Over the years, Robert has traveled and imported crafts from Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti, and Peru.
Anne Hawkins, his daughter, now manages the store while Robert is off on his travels. She has a background in architecture and is interested in the built environment and product design. Anne still dabbles in architecture occasionally, mainly working on community based projects here in Houston. She also works on the design of many of the products sold at the store, including lamps, pillows, and furniture. Together Robert and Anne travel to Mexico and Guatemala to fill the store with all kinds of unique treasures. During their travels they have met fellow importers who work with artisans in other countries such as Turkey, India, and Thailand. They also work with local artists, such as David Marsh who's fabulous furniture you can see in the store.
Surroundings is located near Rice University and the Museum District. We are in the "commercial block" of a residential neighborhood. Our location was originally the neighborhood grocery store. We are on the north side of Sunset with parking directly in front of the store. There is additional parking in back.
From Southwest Freeway - Exit Greenbriar heading south. Turn left on Sunset. Continue on Sunset about 6 blocks. The store is on the left side of the street.
From Rice Village - Take Kirby, heading north. Turn right on Sunset. Continue on Sunset for about 9 blocks. The store is on the left side of the street.