I can’t believe it! We have our very own (literal) brick and mortar shop! I am overflowing with deep gratitude for the way our community, our family, and our friends have rallied together to bring this dream to life. This has truly been a labor of love. If you watched the episode, you know that we started off with an old bank building that had been sitting empty. We turned it into a welcoming store that highlights the artistic work of our talented friends and supports their small businesses.
The historical architecture was what first drew us to this beautiful building. We had passed it so many times, and I always thought it would be a perfect spot to begin revitalizing this quiet main street in Centerton. I hoped (and still hope) that by fixing it up, offering food, adding seating and including a play area, we could bring more people to Centerton and continue to beautify this corner of Northwest Arkansas that we love so much.
Built in 1905, this old building had charm reminiscent of the turn of the century, but a lot of its original details were hidden. Wood panels covered the large windows along the top. Its amazing entryway of iron and wood had been covered up over the years by plaster, paint and dust. Our plan was to bring everything back to its original glory. So, we uncovered the windows and brought them back to glass, which not only beautifies the front of the building but also allows natural sunlight to flood into the store. We also removed the old maroon paint and replaced it with a softer color that’s more in line with the era and blends in better with this peaceful street. To make it even more charming, we added a custom handmade gas lantern, iron railings and our new store logo.
Our vision is that Marrs Mercantile will give families another fun and wholesome activity that they can enjoy together. By adding some counter seating onto the front walkway (in addition to the seating on the patio), we made it an inviting spot for people to enjoy their treats from the food truck among the natural potted plants and flower boxes.
Handmade Gas Lantern | Legendary Lighting
American Flag | Allegiance Flag Supply
Flowers | Samantha’s Garden
Marrs Mercantile Window Sign | Best Sign Group
Landscaping | Christy at Blossom Landscaping and Design
Once we got the spiral staircase out of the way and removed all the old plaster and ceiling tile, we were left with a nice clean slate of original brick, cement flooring and exposed ceiling. You could see where there had originally been windows along one of the walls. There were hand hewn beams already in place that could support the windows. We cut out the brick along the old lines and reinstalled windows to look out onto the new patio and allow more natural light.
In figuring out the layout, we wanted people to come in and feel like they’re entering a home. I wanted it to feel warm and welcoming. I envisioned a Parisian market – one with light, pretty colors, flowers all over and old pieces of furniture to display product. At the same time, we wanted to stay true to the nostalgia of the bank that stood here over a century ago and to the heritage of Centerton, Arkansas. So, we melded those themes together.
Choosing the floor tile was one of my favorite parts of this project. It turned out so beautifully! The mosaic fits perfectly with the era of the building and adds interest to the space. I love how the border wraps around the room as if we had a large area rug, and the large round Marrs Mercantile logo in mosaic pastel colors welcomes people as they walk in. I also got to undertake one of my favorite activities as I mapped out the store – antique shopping. I was lucky to find the perfect checkout counter at one of my go-to antique stores. The checkout counter had once been the register table at a famous hardware store in the area in 1900. Now, it fits just right in our little shop. Dave was a very busy carpenter on this project, making all the display furniture for us. He made the round table at the front window and the long table in the middle of the store. He also built the wooden display cabinets and shelves, large wood trim around the windows and he welded the display wall for my beloved vintage Turkish rugs. I love how we were able to turn a cutout area (which was once a walled up door) into a built-in that looks like it was made to be there. Now we have plenty of display space for the mercantile!
Vintage-Inspired Pendant Lights | Lucent Lightshop
Floor Tile | Hartley Commercial Flooring
Vintage Checkout Counter | Southern Mercantile
Custom Woodwork | Dave Marrs
This has to be one of the most fun bathrooms we’ve remodeled – starting with the colorful floor tile and ending with the bank vault door. As a nod to the old bank building, the vault door is a secret entrance to the hidden bathroom. This powder room also gives off that turn-of the-century vibe with its picture frame molding on the walls, painted in a soft taupe to allow the colorful floor tile to stand out. We also added handmade plumbing fixtures, a handmade vanity (made by Dave) and sconces to make it feel historically accurate.
Custom Bank Vault Door | Custom Barnworks
Handmade Faucet and Sink | Atmosphyre
Handmade Sconces | Lucent Lightshop
Mosaic Tile Flooring | Hartley Commercial Flooring
Vanity | Dave Marrs
The idea of making Marrs Mercantile cozy and homey includes giving people places where they can come and hang out. You know how I feel about the table being the center of the home. That’s what I wanted here too. I want couples, friends, families, people of all ages to come and be inspired by local artists. Then, they can get ice cream, or a slice of pizza or hot chocolate from the food truck and just sit for a while, enjoying their time together.
We made the outdoor area feel like a large backyard patio, complete with patio furniture, tables, a play area and yummy snacks. For some shade and décor, we installed an aluminum pergola in a light wood color which highlights the tones of the mural. Oh, the mural! Can you believe how beautiful it turned out? I knew Keith and Evan would do a nice job, but still; this mural is so much more than I expected. The neutral tones fit perfectly with the interior of the store and the paint on the front of the building. Keith shaded it in a way that makes it look three dimensional so it looks attractive and alive as you’re driving by, but also not imposing to the classic feel of Centerton. It makes for a beautiful backdrop for visitors to take their pictures.
My prayer for this place is that is a space where old and new friends can gather and be inspired by beautiful things. A place where the things we sell each tell a story of the ones who created them: handmade pottery, leather goods, woodwork, and art. May this place be a respite from the rushed pace of the world. May it be a reminder to slow down and seek beauty in all things and in all people. 🤍