Shop, Create and Taste–All in a Transformative Place
Photos by Natalie Napoleon
Step into the foyer and you are welcomed by the soft light of Edison Bulbs, the warmth of a live edge wood topped repurposed feed cart and their mission statement. “We envision the Mercantile as a collaborative of makers who wish to share their art through dialogue and demonstration and work together to bring greater awareness to the rich history of the arts in Bucks County.” Above the lit statement is a custom laser cut Mercantile sign from copper sheeting, and the feeling you get upon entering stays with you throughout. This space is different, welcoming and experiential.
As guests walk through the Mercantile, they are pleasantly surprised by the boutique styled layout, with clean sight lines and organized spaces. There are 130 different entrepreneurs represented in the sprawling 25,000 square foot space, from painters, to ceramists, to jewelry makers and interior designers, just to name a few, but there is “something for everyone”, a tag line that Mercantile has adopted and is a poignant and appropriate description.
The artists and small businesses have found a home here at Mercantile in a time when the outside environment has felt precarious. Opening during COVID was a challenge that Founder Brooke Henningsen did not shy away from. The need was great for brick-and-mortar spaces since art festivals were cancelled which left small businesses and artists alike to struggle. Henningsen along with Creative Director Ashara Shapiro turned the empty space into what you see now in record time.
Some of the artists and small businesses in the space include well known sports painter Jordan Spector, who’s large and incredible murals frame the bar, Matt Volpe, who creates intricate works in mixed media, well known small businesses like 12 West and Chilcote and Richards.
Rounding out the offerings are repurpose artists HBN Designs who specializes in reimagined military attire and A.Recherche who is a metal and leather worker focused on jewelry and handbag design.
There is also an Artisan Market in Mercantile called “A Taste of Bucks and Beyond” that is centered around Triple Sun Spirits, a local distillery who makes small batch spirits. So, you can shop, stop and have a mixologist pour you a cocktail, and have a bite. The offerings are from local farms, everything from eggs to Wagyu beef. There are fresh food options, sauces, sweets, preserves, picked vegetables and the Winter Farmers Market will pop up for the months of December and January.
Mercantile also makes a lot of community connections through class offerings and charitable events. They have hosted a Wearable Art Fashion Show, a Mannequin Exhibition, a Masquerade Gala and special holiday events. Their schedule can be found on their website’s event page.
Mercantile makes its focus on community connection and the experience of being in the same space as the artists and small business dreamers. They have accomplished that and much more. If you have yet to pay a visit, make it a day trip. There is a lot to see, and much to taste.
444-446 North Main Street, Doylestown, PA 18901
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