Globetrotter finds world of opportunity, brings home authenticity

Within the rooms of Namaste are the goods from Africa, Asia, South America, all places from which owner Kimberly Pease of Fort Worth has collected items of everyday life to sell.

Pease, 50, chose a life of worldwide adventure and goodwill. This year alone she has traveled to Panama, Peru, Laos, Bhutan and Thailand. These trips were as much about her fascination with the mysteries of other cultures as they were about buying for her West Vickery Boulevard import store.

She travels light and tries to leave good things in her wake. Pease, among other good-will ventures, is paying for the education of four young people in Thailand, and she has donated money to build a village school in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal.

For Pease, the best part of traveling is getting to know families along the way. "It's totally different when you look in their eyes, hold their babies or wipe off a dirty face," she says.
Pease could have chosen other life paths. Her father, Herbert L. Pease, Sr., founded Marketing Management of Fort Worth, a grocery merchandising company.

Her first travel abroad was to Europe with her French class at Country Day School. She is a 1973 graduate who went on to the University of Denver and then, in the most likely of steps, a job with her father's company. This was followed years later by an unlikely step, an eight-month, mostly solo backpacking trip through South America.

On a later trip to Mexico, she came up with an idea for a company that would truck food into Mexico and return with Mexican goods. With her father's support, she set up Valor International. She spent 10 years running the business and living in Mexico City, Manzanillo and San Miguel de Allende. She later sold the business to Marketing Management Inc.

Later, while working for her father in Asia, she came up with the idea for the Namaste import store, which she opened in 2000. The store is a place with no mass-market goods but instead, items that are handmade by artisans and villagers. Many items are antique and have the patina of everyday life in faraway lands and long-ago times.

Pease, who has lived in Thailand, is giving up her house there to be closer to her parents, Herbert and Mary Pease, during their older years.

She'll be closing Namaste this year. Her store is in the path of the planned Southwest Parkway. By fall, she plans to open a high-end gallery of imports on Seventh Street, west of University Drive, and she is looking for another building to relocate Namaste.

But don't expect to see her around a lot at any of the locations. Likely as not, Kimberly Pease will be on the road.

- Jessie Milligan (Star-Telegram)