Renovated and Restored
The Elberta Mercantile saved the old Gilmore Township Library, they have updated it and restored it to something like its former glory: a fresh coat of stain in a tasteful green with yellow trim, the aforementioned coffee terrace, and—perhaps most spectacularly—the uncovering and restoring of the large windows, long obscured by drywall and bookshelves. The drop ceiling is gone, and a new cool, airy feeling comes from the white-painted steel roof supports high above, the ceiling fans, and the natural light reflecting off the turquoise-colored block walls. With its openness and concrete floor, the Elberta Mercantile will echo the old service station; and in the center of the main room, on wheels so that it can be moved about seasonally, is the old library circulation desk, acting as checkout counter.
Breathe In, Breathe Out
“We don’t specifically buy to sell,” Carol says. “When something good comes along, we’ll have it in the house for a year or two. We’ll enjoy it. And then we’ll let it go… This has always been a dream—probably more so for me—to give Mark an outlet to display and sell. In our house right now, there are things that I’m ready to let go of.”
“Carol says it’s like your body: you’ve got to breathe in and breathe out,” Mark says of their buying and selling. “After we get all our junk in here, then we’ll know more about how much space we have for consignments. But that’s the hope, because people have some nice stuff. And we’ll also take requests, if there’s something you want us to keep our eyes peeled for.”
Both these ideas excite me personally. I, too, have a lot of junk other people might treasure and am addicted to the energy of old things. “Is there any type of thing you won’t consider taking?” I ask.
“It always bums us out, some of the things people throw away,” Carol adds. “But it means we’ll always have junk!” she says, grinning.
Collectibles and one-of-a-kinds
Elberta Mercantile Co. sells one-of-a-kind clothing, classic children’s toys (trains, entire year-runs of Matchbox cars, Fisher-Price matériel), sports and celebrity memorabilia, signage, furniture, fixtures—and very heavy weird old things.