Katie Eubanks: What is Mercantile Mississippi?
Cindy Raborn: Mississippi Magazine started Mercantile Mississippi in 2017. And last year I was the coordinator for the show. Then the owner of the magazine decided to sell (the show), and I actually purchased the show from them. We’re calling it a Southern shopping event.
So it’s a retail show where artists and boutiques and any kind of retailer from Mississippi and around the Southeast come together at the (Mississippi) Trade Mart, set up booths, and it’s just a large retail show open to the public. And you can find apparel, home décor, jewelry, specialty food items, art – there’s going to be a couple of writers there with their books – just a huge array of things.
And since it is Mother’s Day weekend, we’re kind of playing up the Mothers’ Day angle, as far as gifts. And we have some special stage shows and things going on that people can participate in.
You can go at your own pace. And you can just find anything that you’re looking for, just about. It’s just such a wide variety and array of unique things that you don’t just find in stores around.
KE: Tell me more about the special events.
CR: Onstage, we have several local singers – but also Patty Roper, one of the owners of Mississippi Magazine, is going to do a Tea with Patty presentation, a Mother’s Day thing, and then we’re going to have a full spread of the formal tea with the desserts and the tea.
And then we have a local artist that’s going to do a painting lesson.
KE: Do y’all have dates for those events yet, and is there an extra cost for those beyond admission?
CR: The tea is Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. We have not nailed down the time of the (painting lesson) yet.
The tea is $10 (extra), and the painting lesson is actually $65 (extra), and it includes everything that you get to take home with you. Then if you want (your painting) framed, it’s $95.
(The artist) is MK Decker Designs. Her art is very pretty, very pretty. She’ll also have a booth selling some of her artwork and pillows and that sort of thing.
KE: What kind of criteria do y’all use for vendors?
CR: (First) we look at their website or Facebook to see what products they sell. We want more upscale (products for this show). Also, we try to keep a good variety and not have a hundred boutiques just selling clothes.
KE: How many vendors have signed up as of now?
CR: Right now we have about 120 booths, but that’ll grow. … Vendors can still apply on the website.
KE: What made you decide to buy the show, and have you made any changes to it?
CR: I had so much fun doing it. And once you’ve done it one time, you know what you’re doing. And I enjoyed the vendors, and we had lots of loyalty with the vendors.
Plus, I’ve got some great sponsors. And with their help, I just enjoy it, and I said, “I can do this.”
I have not really made any changes this year. We’ve got some ideas for next year. We just wanted to do it one time kind of the same – just a smooth transition.
KE: What excites you the most about the show?
CR: It’s just fun for me personally to see all the products. There’s just some great things that make you really want to shop. And I enjoy the atmosphere of it, because everybody comes in happy. It’s a fun event. And the events, those are just fun too.
Bring your sister, bring your mother, bring your daughter. It’s just going to be a fun time.
Hopefully it won’t be too crowded. (laughs) The vendors like that, though, for sure.
For tickets or more information about Mercantile Mississippi, visit mercantilems.com. Two free tickets can be found on page xx of this month’s Mississippi Christian Living!