After a quiet opening in early August, Milton Mercantile recently held a grand opening celebration, adding to a business mix that is revitalizing downtown Milton.
Less than one year after owner Lisa Fatzarano relocated to Milton from northern New Jersey and only six weeks after she began filing business paperwork, Fatzarano said she opened the new collective to a warm reception.
"We must have had several hundred people come through that day; it was a steady flow," Fatzarano said. "It was huge success to see the community come out, and it was nice to see a lot of Miltonians."
The unit at 109 Union St. once housed a hardware store and more recently an antiques mall. Fatzarano said when she moved to Milton, she was unemployed and heard there may be another antiques mall moving into this space.
Fatzarano has plenty of experience with antiques, she said, and still owns an antiques store in New Jersey. She was looking for something to do, so she contacted the building's owner, local contractor Glenn Howard, to see about becoming a vendor or managing the new store.
When he asked if she wanted to establish a new business there herself, Fatzarano said she couldn't resist.
Fatzarano said she and her husband, Ted, wanted to break away from selling only antiques and create a collective.
Since Milton Mercantile was conceived in June, Fatzarano moved quickly to assemble a lineup of nearly 30 local vendors and artisans who offer arts, crafts, antiques, gifts and collectables.
"The important thing is, we are a mix," she said. "The artisans really add a special look and create more art and more jewelry."
The space required a facelift and some serious body work, plus the landlord's mechanical specialty – new wiring. Ted contributed partitions that separate vendors, and as they settle in, Lisa looks forward to nearly doubling their collective and opening space upstairs as well.
"It was a lot of work, but it just kind of fell into place," Fatzarano said. "It was fate."
Broadkill Beach resident Marianne Allen said she never had a place to sell her crafts and antique collectables before. Now, she has set up shop as a vendor with a mini-store,Treasure This, at the mercantile.
"This is our first venture, so we are very excited to be part of this," Allen said. "We are very close, and we are nearing retirement, so this is our retirement venture."
Fatzarano said with more artists and vendors on the way, she hopes to create a destination shopping location in downtown Milton.
The Milton Mercantile is open five days, weekly, with hours by season. For more information, call 302-664-1840.