After about nine months of being open, we're taking the time to formally introduce our readers here at Main Street to our newest member of the family. Neighbors Mercantile opened in June 2022 across the street from Main Street - and we're nearing the one year mark of being in business. The story of Neighbors has been longer in the making than that, so we thought it would be a good time to share some background on what all has been going on behind the scenes in the past few years at Main Street. Here we go!
We spent a few years and remodeled the former hardware, Martin Hardware. This has resulted in a nostalgic yet familiar space you'll love. You'll find a large variety of goods including kitchen ware, outdoor supplies, home goods, camping gear, general gifts, candies and sodas, and toys.
The vision for this space began years earlier. The original owner of Martin Hardware, Dennis Martin, approached Marcus and asked if he had interest in the building when he made the decision to retire. At that time, we did not feel our team was at the point that we could manage another store, and we declined. The thought was in the back of our minds though, and often as Marcus roasted, he would stare across the street at the empty building and imagine a vibrant space, doors opening again, and specifically - rocking chairs on the front porch.
Fast forward eight years, we reached out to the mayor, Phil Jenkins, who encouraged us to give it a go. He put us in touch with several people, and we eventually acquired the building and began the process of a complete redesign. Lauren Johns was involved as a designer and helped with the project management as well. Many local contractors and businesses used their skills to make this dream come to life, and the project itself took three years to complete.
The name "Neighbors" was another idea that Marcus developed after a laundry list of concepts were considered for quite some time. We wanted something that signified that we were connected to Main Street, to the community, and that it belonged to everyone. Once we landed on this - all of the members of our family, our kids, and others weighing in - loved the idea.
One of the significant things to decide was the product lines to carry. The objective was to bring something to town that would captivate all of the community and out of town guests.
While we're still discovering which products will stay and which products aren't the right fit, a filter we use in selecting products is finding unique, quality items that are different from items you find in other local stores. While there is guaranteed to be some cross-over, we truly want to create a space that serves a purpose for our community, and provides something that isn't being met by other local establishments, so that everyone in the community can continue to be profitable.
One of the main questions we are asked is "Why? Why did you start up this store if you've always been in the foodservice industry? What made you have an interest in this?"
Our answer to this question is simple. We love our town. Abandoned buildings, or former retail spaces that are empty is something that we want to see less of. We'll do our best to make a difference in our little corner- We hope you'll do what you can too! Whether that means following a dream, or supporting the local bakery, grocer, butcher shop, or coffee shop - there's a lot that's lost if we don't have our small towns to do life in.
Thank you for your interest in, support of, and continued kindness towards our family, and team members! Without an amazing community like the one we have - Neighbors would never have been more than an idea. We're excited to see where this adventure takes us.
So, the next time you're at Main Street, we invite you to stop over at Neighbors. We hope you'll find the same welcome you've come to expect here.