While things at the Mercantile are moving a bit slowly this week, we thought it would be nice to focus on another vital aspect of the Mercantile plan - supporting local artisans! Just as saving old, main street buildings is essential to local economies, supporting talented local bakers, farmers, and makers is too.
Recently, we sat down with Jill Williamson (whose family has owned the store through the years) as she shared her binder full of information on the history of the building. While reading the news articles, yearbook dedications, and even a Boone County proclamation about the store's importance to the community, it became clear that there is a long history of focusing on local needs.
Small businesses can have a great impact on their local communities. For example, Jessica and other Etsy shop owners helped Columbia qualify as an Etsy Maker City in 2019 - 1 of only 5 cities selected. This recognition allowed the Loop Community Improvement District to receive a $40,000 grant as part of the Maker Cities initiative - a program the Loop describes as "focused on the impact of creative entrepreneurship on helping local economies and revitalizing cities." These are the same values that drive our mission at Walnut + Twine.
This mission, coupled with the challenges of 2020, inspired Jessica to create the Harrisburg Cityscape. In early 2020, schools were closed, but teachers, food service workers, and bus drivers were pulling together to help students. C&S did their best to meet the grocery needs of every patron through curbside pick-up, and H-Town made adjustments for an increase in the demand for takeout. It was an unsettling time, but seeing the community pull together in new and unique ways was reassuring.
Once the building was purchased and the Mercantile plans began to take shape, it seemed only fitting this initial design be available on mugs for the future coffee bar. Local potter Angie Johnson of Angela Marie Pottery helped turn this dream into a reality. Based out of Columbia, Angie creates items that are beautiful, unique, and made to last (they are microwave and dishwasher safe, too). We LOVE how this collaboration turned out!
And what's a coffee mug without coffee? We're excited to share that Walnut + Twine will offer coffee from beans roasted right here in mid-Missouri by Z-Best Coffee LLC, owned & operated by 2005 Harrisburg graduate Sarah Kendall (Riley).
Another local whose work is already on display at the Mercantile is Kevin Fearn of Fearn Woodworks. The Community Board is just the first of many more collaborations to come as this project moves forward.
Each week more artisans, cottage bakers, farmers, and creatives reach out to connect, and it's such an exciting part of this journey! If you haven't reached out yet, or you know someone we should talk to, help us connect with them by sending them here to fill out a "get to know you" form.