Full disclosure: I’ve been to Glendale twice.
Growing up outside the 275 loop on the east side, I foolishly never saw a reason to drive out that way as a teen. Friends didn’t live there, we had parks and entertainment on our side of town, and [insert every other excuse made for unadventurous teens balking at the idea of exploring the world outside a cul-de-sac]. And once exploration finally kicked in, I hardly ever made it up that way.
But last week, I went to Glendale for a specific reason, and I’m appalled at my lack of visits (because, as residents and fans of Glendale already know, it’s really nice).
Local Yokel Mercantile, purveyor of locally-sourced food, produce, and art, was the destination. Housed within a modest one story Italianate building constructed sometime around 1880, the shop is modeled after the general stores of yore. That said, there’s little affected eccentricity to this shop. It exists as a throwback that feels genuinely old fashioned.
Dry goods, antiques, hand-crafted furniture, and assorted unique items sit propped up on repurposed farm tools and vintage tables lining the perimeter walls and median. A banjo from the ‘60s and a 1949 Fridgidaire bloated with Moon Pies and soda anchor opposite ends of the 50-foot long store. Outside, a dense collection of Lamb’s Ear bows in unison with the breeze against a sandwich board sign, the phrase “friends don’t let friends do all their shopping in big box stores” scrawled in all caps on its chalky surface.
The mercantile prides itself (perhaps unintentionally) on being the absolute antithesis of modern, fast-paced corporate America.
Most of the things found in the store come straight from the home of Darcie Davis, owner and operator of Local Yokel and 15-year resident of Glendale. An old rocking chair she used to rock her children in sits near the back door a dozen feet from all the pottery, stuffed animals, and quilts she’s created. She's an artist and purchased the business after the owner of the organic market that preceded Local Yokel Mercantile moved on.
When she opened the mercantile in February, Darcie kept the milk, eggs, bread, produce, and other daily consumables offered in the former marketplace. She then shifted the store’s focus toward art. And along with the hand-crafted creations she has for sale in the shop, local musicians routinely pop in. She keeps a guitar ready for those sorts of occasions, reinforcing the notion that letting art pass through the shop uncelebrated isn’t on the list of things Local Yokel offers.
When I left the mercantile, I felt like Glendale was home to something truly special. The village, a part of town I scarcely know, is undoubtedly made better with its inclusion. I won’t make the same mistakes that plagued my teenaged self. Glendale beckons me back, and Local Yokel Mercantile will be the first stop on my return trip.
Learn more about Local Yokel Mercantile by visiting its website.