Home Goods, Hometown
EC native returns to roots with chic home goods store
Fresh exterior paint and newspaper-covered windows mark the birth of a new store at the corner of Dewey and Wisconsin streets, right up the block from the Volume One World Headquarters.
The soon-to-open Red’s Mercantile is owned by Becca Cooke, a Chippewa Valley native who grew up on a dairy farm and graduated from North High School. She left the area for 10 years to attend college and work as a political fundraiser, but she recently returned to be close to family, to be around others with similar Midwestern values, and to be close to the lakes and rivers she missed. Becca is an articulate, intelligent, and ambitious young woman eager to be a part of the cultural renaissance of the downtown area.
“We’re seeing kind of a resurgence in what the downtown has to offer, and revitalizing it is important to me,” Becca says. Her contribution toward that revitalization is a new store in the wood-framed retail building at 224 N. Dewey St., which was previously home to The District Co. and Brent Douglas Floral.
When I asked her how she came up with the name for her store, she hesitated, then smiled and told me that years ago when she worked at a coffee shop in town she was given the nickname “Red” because of her beautiful red hair. (She didn’t say “beautiful,” but I did because it is.) The nickname stuck, hence Red’s Mercantile.
Red’s Mercantile will be a home goods and accessories store stocked with quality goods from Midwestern makers and craftsman – items like wool blankets from Minnesota, text-printed tea towels and pillows from Ohio, leather purses from an Eau Claire artist, and Sanborn canoe paddles from Minnesota.
Red’s Mercantile will be a home goods and accessories store stocked with quality goods from Midwestern makers and craftsman – items such as leather purses from an Eau Claire artist, text-printed tea towels and pillows from Ohio, and wool blankets and Sanborn canoe paddles from Minnesota. Becca explains that she wants “to create a unique experience – to bring Midwest makers and designers that folks may not be familiar with.” She seeks to complement other local stores and not overlap with their merchandise, so Red’s will truly be a distinctive shopping experience with products that are lasting and timeless.
Becca describes Red’s Mercantile as a simple, modern shop, a chic “Boho” space. Housed in an 1880 building, Red’s Mercantile will feature original wood floors with warm rugs, deep red walls, and Edison bulbs in the utilitarian light fixtures, all complementing her products, which will be true to the Midwest in quality and value.
Becca hopes Red’s Mercantile will become an important part of the Eau Claire community – in fact, she hopes to be a social entrepreneur who fosters community. It is her desire to connect with the community by hiring or working with North High School DECA students or senior citizens looking for a side job.
Her grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 6, which is also the day her website will launch. Stop in and say hello to Becca (or “Red” as you may know her); she will have the coffee pot on and looks forward to meeting members of the community and sharing her vision of traditional, high-quality goods rooted in the Midwest.
Red’s Mercantile, 224 N. Dewey St., Eau Claire, will be open Wednesday through Saturday 11am to 6pm, and Sundays 11am to 3pm. Find the store on Facebook by searching “Red’s Mercantile,” and follow it on Instagram (@redfoxden). The store will also sell online at redsmercantile.com.