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Get To Know Woodstocks' Newest Store Woody's Mercantile

Nov 16, 2020 11:59AM ● By Kaitlyn Malone
There is a new store in the center of Woodstock, Vermont, by the name of Woody's Mercantile! It is a beautiful shop with a little bit of everything focusing on artisan products, from home decor to clothes to gifts. This is a brick and mortar retail store formed and curated by the owner Suzi who has put so much love into this shop that you can feel it when you walk in and peruse different displays with delight. When you get a chance, pop into Woody’s Mercantile and pick up a fun Christmas ornament and a gift for your friend or family members! Here's their website to view some of their products. For more information, you can check out their Facebook page

We got in touch with Suzi who was kind enough to tell us a bit about her store, Woody’s Mercantile, and answer a few of our questions which we are happy to share with you below.

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: I grew up in Montana, went to college in Colorado, and moved to New Hampshire with my husband 25 years ago.  We’re raising our two kids and two Bernedoodles in Hanover, NH. 

Q: What inspired you to start Woody's Mercantile and what was the final decision like to take the plunge in starting your own business?

A: I’ve been a sales rep in the outdoor industry for 25 years and have always wanted to own my own store.  When I was a little girl I used to go to my grandmother’s house and take her stuff from around her house then set up a little shop and she’d have to buy it back.  It has always been a dream of mine even though everyone would say, “why on earth would you want to own a retail store?”

My job has allowed me to be in beautiful shops and see different ways to sell goods.  When we would attend sales meetings, we would always carve out time to explore new stores - California has some really great shops, especially coastal boutiques and surf shops.

I would return from those trips and want to help my retailers by teaching them new ways to display and merchandise.  With the changing of the times, retailers can no longer just sell a bunch of expensive jackets on a rounder and expect them to disappear.  You have to create an environment and an experience for them so customers want to buy from you and not on-line. 

At our trade shows, I would go to great lengths to set up our booths and show retailers how to display and give them ideas of props and things to make their store more interesting and more shop-able.  It was one of the highlights of my job and I knew that eventually, I would have my own store.

After traveling for 25 years, it was time to try something different.  My kids are at the age that I could invest my time in a new business.  My family has been very involved from the start - our girls have learned a lot about opening a business, how to work a POS system and working with customers.   My husband, well, retail is not his comfort zone but he has been an integral part in the store behind the scenes - he hauls furniture, recycles cardboard cleans the bathrooms, assembles products, and sets up the technology.   Our dogs are product testers.  I couldn’t do any of this without my family, friends and store manager, Deb Butler.  Yes, I’m tethered a bit after having a flexible schedule for so long but it is so nice to be home at night and not in some hotel room.  It also feels so good to be a part of a community.

Q: Tell us a little about the concept for your store and what you are most excited about?

A: I wanted a lifestyle store, a “mercantile” that has a bit of everything in it.  The shop is very small - only about 700 square feet but I wanted to make it a gift store, a home decor store, a clothing, and accessories store, items for kids, and of course, a pet store.  A place where people will want to visit often to see the new items and enjoy shopping - a true retail therapy experience.  I get most excited when a customer comes in and says, “I just finished a project and I’m rewarding myself with a visit to your store.”  Others say they need a ‘dose of happy’.

Q: What products do you sell and what is your favorite product right now?

A: We sell unique items - from artisan to items with a sense of humor with as much made in the USA as much as possible.  I spend a lot of time trying to source and create custom items for the shop. 

My favorite product(s) in the store right now is the holiday decorations and ornaments.  We need happy and we want to decorate our homes more than ever so I am carrying a lot of decorations and fun ornaments such as Dr. Faucci, baked potato, doodles, and ranch dressing. 

Q: How has it been to design the inside of your store to set off your products? And what is it like now?

A: The shop used to be a yarn shop so it had a lot of slat wall and cubbies.  We basically ripped it all down and rebuilt using beadboard and exposed brick walls.  We installed old pendant lights from a Hungarian textile factory.  The high ceilings also give the small space a much bigger appearance and created an easy atmosphere to sell the products. 

The store was then filled with antique, industrial furniture to use as displays.  I’m always moving things around so it feels different whenever customers come back to visit.

Q: What is unique about your business?

A: My first reaction is, “nothing is unique” but there must be something because customers always say, “I wish we had this store in my hometown.” 

Our shop curates a lot of lifestyle products that you don’t normally see in big box stores. What is also unique is that it is difficult to find small, brick, and mortar retailers.  I think we’ll survive because we are in a tourist town and shopping is a part of the experience when visiting Woodstock.

Q: What is your mission and goal for Woody's Mercantile?

A: My mission is to have fun fulfilling this dream and to create a store that people will enjoy and want to visit often. The goal for Woody’s?  I’d like to say there will be a few Woody’s stores someday but for now, I’m happy with what I’ve got.

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