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Springfield Mercantile Co. changes ownership

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Ownership of a 6-year-old retail business on Commercial Street has changed hands.

Katie Shelton is the new owner of the 326 E. Commercial St. shop after purchasing the company and product inventory from founder Molly Brown for an undisclosed price. Shelton said she received keys to the store Nov. 1 and set out to familiarize herself with what is a first-time brick-and-mortar ownership venture.

Shelton reopened the store to the public Dec. 8, noting Springfield Mercantile Co. had largely become an online retailer since the brick-and-mortar shop closed amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. She said Brown occasionally had the store open for limited hours and by appointment over the past couple of years.

The original retail focus of Springfield Mercantile Co., which sells natural and sustainable housewares and supplies, will be maintained, Shelton said. Brown founded the business in late 2017, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

“I’ve been shopping here for a long time. It’s a magical space,” Shelton said. “I’ve learned a lot from Molly just about sustainable items.”

Shelton said she’s largely kept the 1,400-square-foot store intact, declining to disclose startup costs or her one-year lease rate with landlord Dan Johnson. However, she is adding to the store’s inventory, including more home decor and personal care items, such as bath salts and body oils.

“I have three sewing machines in the back. I plan to offer a lot of handmade items,” she said, adding her in-house brand is Roseblood Handmade. “I haven’t had much time to make a lot, but in store I have some custom backpacks, coats, sweaters and things like that. I’ve been sewing for a lot of years now. It’s always been a hobby, but now I have the tools to finish things professionally and offer them for sale. So, that’s really exciting for me.”

Currently the lone employee, Shelton said she has plans to hire in 2024. As a musician, she has good reason to occasionally be away from the shop. Fans of the local music scene might recognize her as a member of The Mixtapes, a 1990s-era cover band. She and husband Johnny own the band via The Mixtapes LLC.

“We’ve been doing that for around 10 years now, and that’s kind of the bread and butter,” she said, noting the band, for which she sings and plays keyboard, guitar and accordion, performs all around Springfield as well as regionally. “That’s my main job, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon, which I’m very thankful for that. That’s why in the future I will have to have an employee because mostly I travel on the weekends for work, and obviously, I can’t close a retail shop on the weekends. That’s main shopping time.”

Shelton, who’s been friends with Brown since 2018 when their daughters played softball together, said she wasn’t looking to own a retail store.

“It wasn’t really on my punch card at all. Molly approached me with the opportunity,” she said. “I thought about it, and it all just kind of sounded like a dream I didn’t realize I had. I’m just super excited about it and super grateful that she even considered me for something like that. I know this was special for her.”

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