Local Mercantile Offers Something for Everyone

Elizabeth Slagel

Best friends since their youth, Haley Layman and Christina Wamsley did the college/job thing, got married, became moms, embarked on other adventures, and last year reunited to open a South Ashland boutique called Local Mercantile.  It all sounds like an ideal setting for a heartwarming tale on hometown roots and friendship, and that’s exactly what it is.

When growing a community, who better to grow it than the youth or, in their case, young adults?  With their fearless attitudes and gut instinct of what’s on trend, the bestie duo put together what is better known as a “browse a bit” shop.

That’s just what you do when you walk into Local Mercantile on 29th Street.  You browse and walk out with an eclectic handful of goods.  In my case, my loot was a magnetic snap onesie, Lent devotional cards, Swiftie (reference to Taylor Swift fans) stickers and a Moodcast candle scented appropriately “homebody.”

“We wanted to have ‘city style’ shopping brought to South Ashland which has been a long-time dead space,” Layman says, referencing shops you would visit in trending towns or vacation spots. 

Wamsley had the retail experience, working since she was 16 in various retail endeavors, and Layman brought the big city vibe after living in Nashville for 10 years.  Plus, they were both stay at home moms and wanted a footprint in their community.

 “My love language is to give, and show support no matter what sport or organization.  I wanted to take that same mentality and put it to work here at the Local,” Wamsley said. While local is in the name, the inference may be that all things in store are made by local artisans. 

Instead, the store is more boutique, and the goods are selected to keep with an aesthetic or vibe. The shop owners fully embrace community by sharing their brick-and-mortar space with artisans, by allowing them to set up pop-up shops and also hosting holiday weekend events serving food and mimosas. 

“The first year has been nothing short of a blast.  We have met a ton of new people, from kids riding bikes and stopping in, to older people that grew up in South Ashland thrilled with the growth,” Wamsley said. 

Not only does the shop offer eclectic finds, spray tans and an outlet for pop-ups, but the shop owners want their storefront windows to be so eye-pleasing, passersby will want to use them as a backdrop for photos as with interesting murals.  For this, they have teamed up with local muralist Madeline Tipton of Tipton Creations.  Wamsley and Layman collaborated with Tipton to create windowfronts like “Onederland,” a play on Alice in Wonderland and their one-year anniversary. 

When asked if they feel like they are part of an Ashland Renaissance, both agreed they certainly want to be and encourage others to not be afraid to jump into something, starting small if needed, but just doing it.

Local Mercantile also has an online presence with its wide selection of graphic tees, unique baby finds, pop culture items and more.  You can peruse and order from www.localmercantileky.com.