Unique retro art and furnishings that celebrate the past and looks to the future marked the opening of the Corner Mercantile, at 103 Main Street, in the heart of downtown Lake Mills.
From the moment you walk in, people found one-of-a-kind treasures, along with Tom Boycks and his partner Mary Doyle, who came together and got the location open in 30 days.
“We have a holiday collection that will be ever changing,” Doyle said.
The store also carries a supply of Myra Bags, which she said is great.
“They are made from recycled military canvas tents,” she said. “They are lined, have pockets and are stamped with vintage phrases and wording. They are very popular.”
She added they also carry a line of bandy old-fashioned kits.
“It contains everything to make brandy old-fashions, except the brandy,” Doyle said.
If you are looking for retro, the store has two 1950s kitchen tables.
“One was reupholstered, but the yellow set is original,” she said.
They also have an artist that works with chalk, she said, and carries greeting cards and paintings.
“We have little boxes for gift cards that are very reasonably priced,” she said.
Doyle said stocking the store is an ongoing process.
“I have a background in antiques, so I am very good at collecting, picking, finding and scavenging at flea markets,” she said. “We also have some new vendors, so our products are new.”
With all that said, a vintage item may be there one day and gone the next.
“With our new merchandise yes,” she said.
Doyle said the opening day has been exciting.
“We love meeting people and reconnecting with friends that we know in town,” she said.
Boycks said he bought the building with Barry Luce in 1992 and gave it a complete renovation.
“We opened it in 1994 as the Fargo Mercantile,” he said. “We kept that until 2001, and the economy changed, and we decided to close.”
Boycks purchased a RE/MAX franchise, he said, which operated in the back of 103 N. Main Street.
The store opened under several names over the years, and he decided to get back in action. “My background is retail, and I used to be the merchandise manager for the Marshall Fields company,” he said. “I talked it over with Mary (Doyle) and we decided to get back in business again.”
Boycks said the two have been friends for 20 years and worked together with antiques and estate sales.
“I had just retired from teaching in the spring,” Doyle said.
Boycks said she came up with the Corner Mercantile because her antique business is called Corner Antiques.
“We married the two together and came up with Corner Mercantile,” he said. “This started as an idea about six weeks ago, and here it is.”
Doyle said, to her, the store is a pleasure.
“We love what we do,” she said.
The store will be open Wednesday through Saturday, Boycks said, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and will probably add Sundays through the holiday season.
“We’ll will always be closed Monday and Tuesday,” he said. “Our merchandise is one of a kind, and we have to go someplace to go find it.”