Richardson Mercantile creates incubator for entrepreneurs to sell unique wares

Clare Freeman is the store manager and also has her own dealer space at the Richardson location of Mercantile.
Clare Freeman is the store manager and also has her own dealer space at the Richardson location of Mercantile.

Clare Freeman is the store manager and also has her own dealer space at the Richardson location of Mercantile.

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Longtime Mercantile merchant Paula’s House offers white furniture and other decorative items.
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These Happy Kitchen goods will soon be moved to the made-in-Texas Cottonwood General Store.
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Antique items range from candle holders to ceramics.
Richardson Mercantile has served as an incubator for collectors, artists, buyers and sellers for five years now, according to manager Clare Freeman.

At Mercantile, each leased space has its own address, following a grid pattern that mimics the streets of Richardson and surrounding areas. Within these spaces, vendors have the opportunity to decorate and present their products however they see fit, with some even choosing to double or triple the size of their booth.

“You don’t have to aspire to have a big, thriving, successful business to want to do this—you can just make enough to keep buying,” Freeman said. “Whether it’s estate sales or flea markets or wherever you go, that’s the habit, and being able to merchandise it, to sell it, find buyers for it—that’s the fun part. That’s what we exist for.”

The Richardson location has a different vibe than other company locations in Frisco and Dallas, Freeman said.

“It’s more vintage; it’s more eclectic; it’s more collectible,” she said.

Freeman attributes this to the vibrant crowd that inhabits Richardson Mercantile as well as to the spot’s tendency to cycle through businesses. Many of her merchants use the space to grow their business and incomes and, eventually, to open their own storefronts, she said. There are also merchants in the warehouse-size space who have been with Mercantile for years.

Freeman was quick to point out the range of items for sale. At one address is a space dedicated to records, while another features an eclectic mix of vintage items, ranging from Coca Cola signs to faux Christmas trees.

“Each dealer has their own personality—they like to pick their own stuff,” she said.

Merchants follow seasonal trends with a personal touch, Freeman said. Soon, the Mercantile will be filled with Christmas items, she added.

The business has plans for beyond the holiday season as well, Freeman said. The Mercantile space that used to be a cafe will soon transition into the Maker’s Kitchen, which people can rent by the hour and use to create anything from baked goods to pickles.

Freeman is also building the Cottonwood General Store, which will be a space where certified Texas goods can be sold.

Steps to becoming a Mercantile Merchant

1. Stock up on merchandise: Retailers must be prepared to buy and sell constantly.

2. Reserve a space: Retailers pay first and last month’s rent on a six-month lease and either renew or give 30 days notice before leaving.

3. Begin selling: All sales are made at the front register. The Mercantile takes 10% commission on all sales.

Richardson Mercantile

101 S. Coit Road, Richardson


Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m.