I’ve been enthralled with developing brands since I can remember. From a coffee shop to pet store, I began to play with the idea of starting my own business at a young age. While the type of businesses varied considerably, the location was always the same. The building I imagined my businesses in is located on Main Street of my hometown. It was built by my great-great-great grandpa who ran a mercantile inside.
While the building has held a range of different businesses since it first opened its doors, the stories my great grandma told me as a kid have formulated a defined image of what it might have been like. At first, my plans were to change the building completely and bring it into the modern age. But now, I’m inspired by how it once was.
The only evidence I have of how the mercantile once looked are black and white photos and a mahogany cigar display case that once sat in the store and I inherited. However, my imagination runs wild when thinking about every inch of how it once was. With a frontier feel, I imagine the wooden space filled to the brim with canned goods, handyman tools, wide-brimmed hats and suspenders.
A mercantile revival is the basis for yet another idea I’ve had about how to repurpose the space. This time around, with an appreciation for the storied history, I am exploring my interest of craft brews. Imagine stepping back in time to 1900 and sitting down to a cold, local brew.
I gained an appreciation for all things craft from growing up as a farm kid, but I never really learned what it meant until I moved away for college. The occasional trips I took back home to visit family were like revelations. From the acre garden in our backyard where we grow nearly all the produce we need for the year, to little update projects around the house, I learned the value of DIY.
At the heart of MERC Co, the name I’ve given to my historic mercantile taproom concept, is this idea of start-to-finish craftsmanship. My head runs wild with the possibilities for branding, decor, and experiences that could be created in the space. And that’s what keeps me dreaming-the possibilities.
My style defines who I am both personally and professionally. From the fields of the farm I grew up on to the sidewalks of downtown Fargo, I’ve got the perfect outfit for any occasion. Whether I’m just walking a few blocks to work or going out with friends, I can never get enough of unlocking the key to a killer combination of clothes from my closet.
It might seem strange at first to think about how my personal style relates to my professional career, but at the heart of what I wear are strong, defining experiences. Just like the job experiences listed on my resume, each piece of clothing I own can be traced back to pivotal moments in my life.
One such moment, while long past, remains as a vivid memory in my mind. My great grandma Annabelle’s house was like a museum to be explored and enjoyed. I can still remember the contents of every room, from the pool table in the basement to the bright red leather chair in the living room.
But the memory that sticks with me most is one of the walk-in closet just off her bedroom upstairs. Inside, the closet was overflowing with glamorous outfits in every color-except yellow which she hated. I can still remember how inconceivable it was that someone had lived such a storied and stylish life.
It’s profound to think about how one woman impacted my entire life even after she left this world. The same could be said about the women who are still in my life, most notably my grandma and my mom. Both have been making decisions for me about my style in the form of gifts for so long it’s impossible to distinguish what I’ve chosen and what they have chosen for me.
My mom has been nudging me towards a cool, preppy style that focuses on simplicity. From the few suits I own to the backpack I wear daily, my style owes a lot to her. And my grandma who defined my style best as a champagne taste on a beer budget, allows me to live my style dreams. While I can’t describe each and every way they’ve impacted my style, it’s humbling to know that I’m the result of my predecessors, and I’ll never forget that.