Two local entrepreneurs, Susie Schmidt and Morgan Marler, accepted the challenge when local businessman Gary Jones recently decided to retire.
His store, the Mayesville Mercantile, has been a popular local shopping spot for the past 20 years. The two women are currently transforming the store into a new and exciting business, Flint Hills Gypsies, and plan to open after the holidays.
In the late 1980s, Gary and his wife, Marilyn, painstakingly renovated the historic building, which is one of 42 buildings in Peabody on the National Historic Register. Since the original restoration they have continued to keep the building well maintained.
“One of the things that made this opportunity so lucrative was the fact that the Joneses had kept the building in excellent shape,” Marler said. “There wasn’t any major restoration that needed to be done in order to get our business up and running.
After a fresh coat of paint on the inside, the two women will begin stocking the store with new merchandise that will be the unique foundation of Flint Hills Gypsies.
“The items in our shop will be one-of-a-kind treasures that you can’t find anywhere else,” Schmidt said. “We won’t be offering any mass-produced items that you typically find in knick-knack stores or home décor stores.
Instead, the store will feature folk art made by regional artists, as well as unique antiques and collectibles. With a palette of vibrant colors and diverse styles, the store will be a wonderfully chaotic combination of funky vintage treasures.
In addition, they will also develop a line of homegrown Peabody items that are sure to become favorites to Peabody alum and fellow small-town adventurers.
The new business owners are also interested in stocking what local Peabody residents need and want so that their customers don’t have to go out of town.
“We’ve had a couple of residents ask us to carry some specific items. One asked that we offer adult and kid’s gloves and another dedicated Mayesville shopper asked that we keep the corks and lantern wicks that they’re accustomed to purchasing locally. And we will enthusiastically stock those items for them,” Marler said. “It’s important to us that we try to bring what residents want to Peabody, as well as try and pull new people in to town to shop and enjoy our community.”
In the end, after all, it is all about the community.
“Susie and I both really love Peabody and all that it has to offer. We love the people, the architecture, and the culture. We want to share that with visitors to our town and we want them to see all the unique possibilities that are here. This is a really neat town,” Marler said.
The idea to open a new store on Main Street presented itself when Gary mentioned that he was ready to retire. The two women were concerned about the possibility of another empty building in the downtown district.
“It was important to us that we give people something positive to focus on. We want people to drive down the street and look at the activity going on in the Mayesville building and speculate about what’s happening. We want Peabody to move forward and grow. And we want to be a part of that growth,” Schmidt said. “We’re excited about Peabody’s future.”
Be sure to stop by and peek in the windows while the transition is being made from Mayesville Mercantile to the new and colorful Flint Hills Gypsies.
And the next time you see Gary, wish him a happy retirement and tell him “thanks” for being a strong contributor to Peabody’s 1880s Main Street for so many years.