I really can’t believe that 6 months ago, our little framily went to Josh and Em’s for dinner and left with a business plan to reopen Laurel’s beloved former mercantile by Christmas. Josh, a historic real estate developer, closed on the old Smith Furniture building this summer. It’s on the edge of the historic business district where little foot traffic goes. It was plain and sad, left vacant since the early 1990s. We felt like God called us to this building because of its remote location in comparison to the most popular downtown shops, and hoped it would help expand the shopping footprint downtown. There was SO MUCH WORK TO DO, and Ben and I were in the throes of the most demanding filming schedule of season 1. We didn’t worry though, because we knew between the six of us, best friends and family, 12 hands and 12 feet with faith and patience could make it real where 2 people could not.
It felt impossible. But the thing about dreamers like us is a challenge of this scale makes us feel most alive, so we each went to work on it as hard as we could using the very specific gifts God gave each us:
Ben and I: marketing and design
Mallorie and Jim: purchasing and finance
Josh and Em: operations and management (and the INCREDIBLE building renovation!)
We designed every product we could ourselves, found manufacturers in Mississippi, then the South, then the U.S.A. We dedicated ourselves to finding and making heirloom goods for home and life that people will use, love, then pass down to the next generation. The things that last.
Today was our soft opening. Surprise! Which means tomorrow… We’ll open the doors and welcome everyone in. The Laurel Mercantile Co. is back!
Rob, one of our former youth kids who is now a total grown up with a college degree because we are getting old, is sneaking through virtually every picture checking inventory.
Every product is a labor of love, handpicked by the 6 of us. We are so nervous we’re shaking about tomorrow, and will be praying tonight that you’ll show us grace. We bought all the inventory we could, though supplies are limited. It’s a small-batch kind of shop full of American-made and vintage goods that we’ve carefully curated and restocking may take some time as we learn the ropes of owning a brick and mortar retail store. We hope you’ll feel welcome and comfortable here, and we hope you’ll show us grace when things run out, but most of all we hope our store honors Laurel’s history and makes everyone who walks through the door proud to say, “I live in Laurel.”
See you at the Mercantile, friends.