Photo by Morgan Yager
Chances are, if you lived in the Silvermine area in the 1860s, the general store across from the Silvermine Inn was your local commissary. You would often gather there for coffee and a chat, grab some bread and perhaps a pack of cigarettes. It was the place where you could arrange for milk delivery, pick up fresh produce and a local paper. Eventually, the shop sold antiques before it closed down and became abandoned for many years. Today, the space is back as a beautifully designed modern country store. Now owned and operated by The Glazer Group, the GrayBarns Mercantile was designed and brought to life by Nikki Glazer, co-owner and director of the family-owned brand. The idea, she says, was to restore the building and create a space where people can come back to again and again. Opened since September, Mercantile offers a range of coffee drinks using Intellegentcia beans, treats from SoNo Baking Company and some grab-and-go breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Stop in for coffee and avocado toast or leave with an organic rotisserie chicken (with sides). Pick up a floral arrangement or some in-season produce. As an ode to the past, Glazer says she made sure to add simple touches to remind us of the market’s classic American past—they might not sell cigarettes any longer, but you can pick up a box of candy cigarettes for 75 cents. You’ll also see an old record player in the front of the shop with a wide selection of ready-to-play vinyl.
“When restoring the space, I wanted to bring in things that were classically American, things that remind us of a better time,” Glazer says.
In addition, Mercantile is set up to be a workshop—there was a wreath-making class before the holidays and Glazer even heads up a class on how to make super soft chunky-knit blankets.
“I love creating things as a way to check out and de-stress,” Glazer explains. “Using my hands to create—it’s such a satisfying way to keep me grounded.”
Glazer sells her hand-knit blankets at the shop for $250 each; you can also buy a Frette robe (the same robes are in the rooms at the Inn across the street). Shop for aprons, totes, ceramics, pillows, candles and soaps for sale as well. The GrayBarns brand, GrayGoods, is always evolving, Glazer said, in order to add more curated products that are ethically produced and complementary to the brand’s aesthetic. In spring, Glazer said she’s planning more workshops and will begin a catering business. Mercantile, she says, is also available for private events.
Also new to Mercantile is Casey Friese, a former business executive turned local artist, who rents a gallery space at Mercantile under her CAS Studio brand name. The California native’s stunning large-scale photography is influenced by her own global experiences and keen eye for creating truly livable, soothing limited-edition pieces. Friese and Glazer met just after Mercantile’s opening and hit it off right away.
“The Guild of Artists was founded in Silvermine and art is such an important piece of history here,” Glazer says. “So, it’s nice to have an artist right here on-site.”
“Creativity always happens over coffee,” Friese added. “And it’s so inspiring to have my studio here.”
Her work, which ranges from $275 for a smaller unframed print to $5,200 for a 72×54 meticulously framed photo, is crafted on museum-grade paper that has been tested and guaranteed to last over 200 years. Many of her photos capture serene dessert and beach landscapes, edited in a way to create pure serenity when hung in a home or gallery. Her mission, she says, is to photograph the entire United States coastline, eventually.
“Photographing it all is an absolute dream of mine,” Friese said. “It’s definitely my bucket list.”
Her current collections, Faded and Day As Night, are currently available for purchase at the studio. CAS Studio is open Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. — 3 p.m. or by appointment.