Our retailer spotlight this week is Carol Austin, owner of Concession Road Mercantile in Alliston, Ontario which is about one hour north of Toronto.
CONCESSION ROAD MERCANTILE
96 Victoria Street West
Monday to Friday 10 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm
My love of upcycling furniture started when I was in my 20s and living in New York City in the early 1980s. I furnished my apartment with curbside finds and discarded antiques. I think I painted everything matte black back then! I even hand-sanded the old oak floors of my apartment.
Fast-forward many years later after a successful career working as a marketing professional and raising a family in Toronto, my husband and I decided to buy a 10-acre country property just north of Toronto. We traded our city life for a world where we are now surrounded by beautiful forest trees brimming with chirping birds, our 2 dogs, some chickens, tapping trees & making maple syrup, and growing lots of organic vegetables.
I had always dreamed of having my own retail store so last year I decided it was now or never. There’s a charming small town near us called Alliston. It’s quaint and country, but also has a hip and growing feel to it with lots of young families from the city moving there because it’s more affordable than Toronto. The local Business Improvement District has a campaign called “Rurban Living – the best of both worlds.” And that’s so true. All around us are farmer’s markets, antique and vintage shops, and so many talented artisans. I’m also a craft fair junky and knew I wanted to highlight artisan work, so I decided to launch the “modern general store” style venture and focus my business on Canadian and artisan products as well as furniture painting and craft supplies. I currently carry Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint and FAT Chalk-style paint – both Canadian companies.
We opened on the first day of Spring in March of 2018 so it’s only been a couple of months for us so far. Since then we’ve had an amazing embrace from the Alliston community and have held about 8 different workshops and events already! My shop is filled with beautiful antiques that I collected to use as fixtures. All have been painted with milk paint and are a great way to showcase colours for my paint customers. We also offer custom furniture painting services for people who don’t have the time or space to do it themselves.
I think my favorite MMS colour at the moment is Aviary. For my store fixtures, I wanted the palette to be light colours so Aviary was a welcome break from all the white and cream tones I’d been using night and day. The launch of Aviary happened to coincide with our first live demo day so we painted a small table with it. Shortly afterward, I had a customer give me a beautiful birdcage which, of course, we painted in Aviary!