At the new Ruxton Mercantile general store, customers can buy activated charcoal toothpaste, throw blankets made on antique looms and merino wool clothing from New Zealand.
And they can head to the back to grab a cup of Ceremony Coffee with an array of add-ins that will enhance your skin, like collagen, peptide boosters, and raw honey.
Located in the former the Little Shoebox space at Ruxton Station, the month-old store is the first retail venture for husband-and-wife business owners Caitlin and Alex Gibson, who are, respectively, an attorney for McCormick & Co. and a technology consultant by day. The couple also parents five boys, ranging in ages from six months to 11.
After living in Ruxton for nearly seven years, the business owners wanted a place in their area that sells a variety of simple, practical, everyday luxury items. “We just feel like there wasn’t a place in the neighborhood to shop for things like that,” Caitlin says. “It’s something I always fantasized about doing some day. I knew I wanted to do a curated modern general store.”
She said she saw a gap in the market for something in between shopping online and a suburban mall. She wanted to fill the void with a local shop that maintains a small-town feel. Products at Ruxton Mercantile are rare-to-find brands that are ever changing.
“That’s the fun thing about the curated piece. It’s always evolving. If you come in next month, we’ll have new things,” Caitlin says.
Housewares are carefully arranged on big farm tables in the 800-square-foot space, which Caitlin describes as “light and clean and modern,” with white walls and driftwood floors. “We want the store to feel relaxing and not overwhelming, so we have been careful not to cramp the shelves or racks,” Caitlin says.
The store also embraces a wellness element. Its apothecary section features non-toxic skin care, dry brushes and probiotics, and the shelves display information on each of the products. Customers can also expect to find items throughout the store made with sustainable fabrics and natural ingredients.
Ruxton Mercantile sells men’s, women’s and kid’s clothing, too, many of which are sourced from female-owned brands and made from high-end fabrics. Shoppers who might be hesitant to purchase a $200 shirt online might make the investment once they have seen and felt the material, Caitlin says. Some of the clothing brands the store carries include Le Edit, the Kiwi wool clothing company; luxe pajama and loungewear makers Lunya and Frank and Eileen, which sells men’s and women’s clothing made in California with Italian fabrics. The shop is eager to incorporate more local makers in the store, Caitlin says.
Part of the inspiration came from a deli, ice cream shop and coffee bar in Squam Lake, New Hampshire, where the Gibsons have vacationed.
The shop is also a passion project for Caitlin that allows her to channel her creative energy in a way she can’t in her day job. “I love my job. I have no plans to give that up. [The store] is a way to have this interest and share it by having a store.”