Tara and Jordan Austin are a dynamic pair of entrepreneurs who run two upscale apparel stores in Montgomery, Ruthie Grace and Forged 86. If you’re looking for clothing that ranges from whimsical and leisurely to office-friendly and special occasions, you’ll find it at their storefronts or online.
The college sweethearts met at Texas A&M and have recently celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary. They are raising three boys who love baseball, and the family manages to carve out “together” time while operating their busy local stores and filling online shopping orders.
The Ruthie Grace and Forged 86 websites sell attire nationwide, and Tara and Jordan attribute their popularity to inventories that customers want and need, next-level customer service, and a fun and uplifting social media presence.
When Ruthie Grace opened 12 years ago, Tara, a Montgomery native, put a lot of thought into the boutique’s branding. The middle names of her grandmothers, Ruth and Grace, have been in her family for generations, and the combination became the perfect name for the store, capturing a sense of family, faith, and community. “Going outside of Montgomery was never a question,” says Tara. “We built our lives here. This is home, where we want to be.”
From an initial 900-square-foot retail space, Ruthie Grace has evolved into a flagship boutique in the heart of Montgomery, where shoppers enjoy a mix of upscale vibe, hometown charm, and family-centered operations. “Jordan built the flagship store and collaborated with designers to brand the shopping experience,” says Tara. “He left his construction career at the end of 2020 to help me grow our retail business.”
Ruthie Grace has blossomed into a go-to destination for year-round fashion, from dresses to belted rompers to shoes, handbags, and so much more—perfect for wardrobe refreshes, one-of-a-kind classics, and seasonal picks. Ruthie Grace also recently launched Coastal Cowgirl Collection—a hit!
Chances are that shoppers in Montgomery know the retail staff personally and recognize the local website models Lynsey Hedrick, Britt McGee, and Madison Muir. The inventory is updated frequently, with new merchandise and specials announced on social media and the store’s website. Occasional virtual warehouse sales are also exciting events for loyal customers.
Jordan began conceptualizing a men’s retail store based on his own personal shopping needs. Rather than visiting numerous stores and websites, he envisioned a one-stop shop where men could find all-occasion clothing and quality brands—shirts, pants, outerwear, shoes, accessories, and more.
“There was an obvious gap in the men’s retail market, and it became our new venture,” says Jordan, who filled the void with Forged 86, their second Montgomery flagship located one store away from Ruthie Grace. He became the general contractor for the monumental design-build construction journey and captured every step on Instagram.
As part of the creative process, Tara and Jordan once again considered store names that reflect their values and beliefs. The notion that “forged” means becoming new and unique, combined with Jordan’s birth year (1986), resonated as the exact right name for their latest retail enterprise. “We also named the dressing rooms in honor of our dads, the men who raised us,” says Jordan.
The result is a masculine, organized shopping environment that is deeply rooted in the community and shares the same expert styling, upscale vibe, and hometown charm as Ruthie Grace. Forged 86 is filled with Jordan’s favorite personal brands, with lots of options and an inventory curated from customer feedback and requests. It’s the place to shop for an array of golf, outdoor, and leisurewear, as well as business casual, Western wear, accessories, and hard-to-find brands crafted for durability and longevity. Jordan, along with Chris Tarver, Riley Davis, and Kyle Gragg (store manager), model the apparel online and are personally invested in selection, quality, and fit.
Find and Connect
The Ruthie Grace and Forged 86 storefronts draw visitors from Conroe, Willis, Woodforest, and beyond, and online shoppers from all 50 states. “We are deeply passionate about all of our customers, and we can’t wait to meet you,” says Tara.
Ruthie Grace is located at 20165 Eva Street, Suite D, Montgomery, TX 77356. Browse online at shopruthiegrace.com and follow along at instagram.com/shopruthiegrace.
Forged 86 is located at 20165 Eva Street, Suite H, Montgomery, TX 77356. Browse online at forged86.com and follow along at instagram.com/forged.86.