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Salt Hill Gallery is the latest jewel in downtown Fargo

The wearable art and antiques shop - just off Broadway Square - offers "a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy."

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Taylor Mertz is the owner of Salt Hill Gallery, a contemporary art jewelry store in downtown Fargo. Mertz, seen Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, says the "art that you can wear" shop has something to appeal to all tastes.
Chris Flynn / The Forum
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FARGO - For years, Taylor Mertz worked as a midwife in the Twin Cities and later in Fargo. But now with four kids of her own, she decided she needed a little more predictable schedule.

Her less hectic, “more normal hours” answer?

Opening a new business.

Mertz owns Salt Hill Gallery , a jewelry, art and antiques shop that recently opened at 211 Broadway in the RDO Building.

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Salt Hill Gallery in downtown Fargo sells contemporary art jewelry. Featured pieces, such as this one on display Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, are handcrafted by established and emerging artists and made from fine materials.
Chris Flynn / The Forum

“This is a new creative endeavor for me,” Mertz said Thursday, Sept. 15. “I’ve always had a creative side project. When I was in nursing school, I had a vintage shop. So, I have appreciated art and design on my own for a long time, but decided to take that to the next level, making it part of my profession.”

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The gallery offers an expansive collection of “art jewelry” by a core group of artists. All of the jewelry is handmade and many pieces are one-of-a-kind or limited edition items.

She contacted each of the craftspeople directly and “they were enthusiastic about signing on to create a collection.”

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Salt Hill Gallery is a new contemporary art jewelry store in downtown Fargo. The shop's jewelry display area, seen Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, showcases pieces handcrafted by established and emerging artists. The shop also sells fine chocolate, apothecary items and small-batch perfumes.
Chris Flynn / The Forum

In addition to the traditional retail presentation, Mertz plans to host special limited-time exhibitions.

The west side of the store is primarily the jewelry showroom - the place to find wedding and commitment bands, earrings, pendants, etc. - as well as estate, vintage and antique jewelry finds in a “storied collection.”

“It’s art that you can wear,” Mertz said.

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Handcrafted earrings are displayed at Salt Hill Gallery in downtown Fargo on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022.
Chris Flynn / The Forum

On the east side of the shop is a “fine gift area,” with accessories, fine chocolates, fragrances and an apothecary section.

There are also other antique items available - books, art, even bowties.

“I want people to feel like it’s very welcoming. There’s a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy,” Mertz said.

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It will be “a great opportunity to serve patients where they live and play,” an Essentia Health official says.

As part of the welcome is the shop’s furry greeter, Salty, a 7-year-old female Bernedoodle that Mertz’s family adopted after the mellow pooch was retired from a breeding program.

Mertz’s professional background was previously focused on health care.

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Salty, Salt Hill Gallery owner Taylor Mertz's Bernedoodle, hangs out Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, in the recently opened downtown Fargo jewelry store.
Chris Flynn / The Forum

She has a nursing degree from South Dakota State University, later earning a master’s degree as a nurse midwife at Frontier Nursing University in Versailles, Kentucky.

Her husband is Scott Meyer, the former leader of The Nice Center, an entrepreneurship center at North Dakota State University.

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Bow ties made with feathers are part of Salt Hill Gallery's collection of vintage and estate pieces, seen Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at the downtown Fargo shop.
Chris Flynn / The Forum

“Scott is the one with more of an entrepreneurial background than I. He’s been supportive, but his biggest question throughout his process has been, ‘Do you want support, or do you want advice?’ Which I thought was a smart question for a spouse to ask.”

She got the idea for the gallery about two and a half years ago.

In casting about for a location, she found the space looking out on Broadway Square perfect, with plenty of natural light to show the artisan jewelry well.

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Salt Hill Gallery, seen Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, offers jewelry, art and antiques at 211 Broadway N., in the RDO building along downtown Fargo's Broadway Square.
Chris Flynn / The Forum

“When we visited this space, it really stood out as being part of the vibrancy in downtown Fargo. I think that we viewed it in the wintertime. It was very charming to look out and see the ice skating rink and the lights and the Christmas tree, and knowing that the summer Farmer’s Market would be here as well,” Mertz said. “Certainly the proximity to Jasper Hotel and Rosewild (restaurant) was something that we viewed as a benefit, as well, hoping that we will be able to welcome a traveling audience, in addition to local community members.”

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Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The shop is closed Sunday and Monday. The gallery also offers private showings, with contact information available on the shop’s website, salthillgallery.com .

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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