Meet the Shopkeepers: Mercantile Home
Ron Morris and Ken Jones, Jr. from Mercantile Home are the latest shopkeepers in our “Meet the Shopkeeper” series here on Tour de Thrift, where we go behind the scenes and interview folks we meet during our Tour de Thrift adventures. Meeting and chatting with shopkeepers, dealers and makers is a great way to learn about collecting and creating. These folks are passionate about what they do and are happy to share information about their work.
We make. We teach. We live creatively.
Not just a tagline on their website but truly words that Ron Morris and Ken Jones Jr. live by. This creative couple are the owners of Mercantile Home in Easton, PA and the innovators of the pop up studio, Mobile Mercantile. They bring their traveling pop up shop and community art projects to towns in Pennsylvania and beyond.
We met Ron and Ken during their week-long stay from March 14 – 19, 2017, at the Historic Harrisburg Association, 1230 North 3rd Street in midtown Harrisburg, PA. This dynamic duo weathered the crazy snow storm during that week of March so they could share, teach and inspire with anyone who stopped by to visit their mobile mercantile. We were especially impressed with the variety of clever products the couple had made. The products for sale are often made with sustainable and up-cycled materials. For instance they made wonderful Bonnie and Clyde tote bags from old canvas bank money bags, and jewelry from buttons and zippers.
Everywhere we looked there were new unique creations. Ron and Ken exude a positive outlook and an infectious appreciation for creativity. They were also gracious enough to answer some questions, so we can get to know them a little bit better.
Meet the Shopkeepers:
1. What motivated you to do the Mobile Mercantile?
We love “Main street”, our Main street, as well as all those we visit. The spots where we pop up are truly the heart of the communities we visit. We are inspired by the people who follow their dreams by opening businesses, as well as the communities that support them. A passion for making beautiful, artful creations and connecting with people is at the center of what we do. We see the magic of this combination everyday, and we want to spread our wings and share this magic with new cities and people.
2. Besides Harrisburg, where has the mobile mercantile visited so far?
We’ve started our tour in Pennsylvania visiting Carlisle, Chambersburg, Selinsgrove, and Quakertown.
3. Where are you going next?
Looks like we’ll be heading to Boston in May! More details to come soon. The details are being worked out at this very moment. 🙂
4. Any favorite moments from you trips that energized and inspired you?
We have had so many wonderful moments on our trips. Each community brings new and interesting people into our life. Here is a post Ken made on Instagram during one of our visits. He captured this moment perfectly.
“Today, the universe allowed me to be part of many beautiful moments, but one of those beautiful moments was transcendent. First thing this morning, I was asked by a loving soul who works with the area’s homeless community if I would sew an American flag patch onto a fleece vest belonging to a homeless gentleman. I was told that, up until yesterday, the vest had a rebel confederate flag patch sewn onto the exact same spot, but that the homeless gentleman who owns the vest had ripped off the confederate flag along with several other similar patches when he realized — as a result of the power of love and friendship he’d recently experienced — that he was no longer ‘racist’ (his words) and these patches no longer represented the way he felt.
As I performed this simple task, one familiar and often repeated in my daily life, I was deeply moved, realizing that with each stitch I was actually helping another human being refine and express his new, loving voice. I’ve never been more grateful for my ability to use a sewing machine than I have been today. Love is winning, and love IS and ALWAYS will be more potent and powerful than hate. Find the love. Look for the love. Be the love.”
5. Anything new on the horizon for Mercantile Home?
So much! We love the horizon. The two of us are dreaming new adventures every day. We might need another blog post for all of those! 🙂 But we promise some fun surprises if you stay tuned…
I highly recommend a visit to Ken and Ron’s very creative shop Mercantile Home in Easton, PA or visit one of the inspiring community based Mobile Mercantile events. You’ll find original, lovingly created products, many made with sustainable, up-cycled materials. They also sell their products online here, or you can sign up for one of their current classes and have fun learning macrame, sewing or Itajime Shibori (Japanese fabric dyeing.