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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Country store near Akron draws city customers

Monday, December 24, 2012

Primitive décor, homemade jellies and bread or antiques are some of the items featured at the Mercantile. The country store is owned by Le Mars native Beth Baack Williams, pictured above, and her husband Ed. The store, located northeast of Akron, on county road K-18, opened this summer.
"A day in the country is worth a month in town." That's the motto on a sign in Beth Williams' new store, and it explains why she and her husband, Ed Williams, live in the country northeast of Akron.

Now their acreage has expanded to include the Mercantile, a country store that sells handcrafted gifts, homemade jams, jellies, goats' milk soap, and more.

"I've always wanted to do this," the former Beth Baack, a 1981 Le Mars Community graduate, explains.

Baack said she has always enjoyed art and craft projects.

She began painting wooden signs for people about 15 years ago. Craft and stitchery projects soon followed.

When her husband, Ed, developed health problems that prevented him from working at a regular job, he bought some laying hens and began selling eggs.

The country store soon followed.

The Mercantile is located in a small barn red metal building next to the Williams' house, adjacent to highway K-18.

The couple admits they weren't sure people would drive to the country to buy their wares. But they knew they needed to follow their dream.

"I said if it doesn't work, we can use it for storage," Ed said.

They opened for business this past summer, and people slowly began coming to check out their products.

Those who came told other people about the Williams' little country store.

"The word of mouth is unbelievable," Beth said.

Beth's primitive stitchery and signs, which are framed by Ed, are a draw. Jars of jelly come in unique flavors like strawberry bacon and piña colada.

Various flavors of fudge and breads, pickles, honey, salsa and ice cream toppings also are offered for sale.

Although Beth makes many of the items featured at the Mercantile, she has handmade knitted and crocheted items made by two Akron area women.

Greg Smidt, Le Mars, consigns metal frames for Beth to sell, and Malea Penne, of Le Mars, consigns her jewelry creations.

Primitive décor, refurbished barn wood and antiques also are available.

"I want stuff in all price ranges," Beth said. "People appreciate it when things aren't too expensive."

The Mercantile is open for business daily, but much of Beth's business is on weekends.

Beth said an average Saturday sees 30 to 40 customers walking through her door.

She opens for business at 10 a.m., but there's no set time for closing.

"I've had people here as late as 10 at night," she added.

The Mercantile is located at 5016 K-18 (also called Buchanan) 1 1/2 miles north of C-12 on the east side of the road. Look for the Eggs for Sale sign by the driveway.

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Great story and great store.

-- Posted by Angela.Price@qtm.cc on Thu, Jan 3, 2013, at 8:28 AM

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