Courtney Hall loves all things vintage. In fact, the owner of the newly opened Commerce Street Mercantile in Waynesville dresses in vintage clothing and is a walking advertisement for her shop.

“One of the main reasons I thought people in our area might be interested in these nostalgic products is because when people see me dressed in vintage garb, they go nuts,” Hall explains. “They always ask where I bought my clothes and accessories. Or tell me how they wish they knew how to find these types of things.”

All this can be found at Commerce Street Mercantile. Hall describes the shop as a retro inspired gift shop with quirky, fun gifts. Everything from remade old tin toys and robots to coffee mugs and vintage signs, it can be found at this new shop.

Hall says opening her own business just fell into place. She worked at Panacea for 12 years and was manager for about 5 of these years. When the space connected to Panacea opened up, she decided to go for it.

“Opening my own business was never in my life goals,” Hall says. “But it just sort of happened in a natural way. I just absolutely went for it.”

Hall describes herself as an old soul. As a child, she spent a lot of time with her grandmother and great aunt. “They were just classy women. I always respected them and thought they were really cool. I have always loved old music, old fashion. I like the glamour and simplicity of these things.”

Once she decided to make the move, Hall says she had so many questions and didn’t know who to ask for answers. On more than one occasion, Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center was brought up in conversation by friends.

“After meeting with Katy Gould at the Small Business Center, it was hard to believe that this resource is available to people in our community for free,” Hall says. ”It was super helpful to have all my questions answered.”

The Haywood Community College Small Business Center supports the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses by being a community based provider if training, counseling and resource information. The Small Business Center (SBC) offers free, confidential, one-on-one counseling services. Customized to meet the needs of each business venture, the Small Business Center is prepared to answer topics on everything from business start-up to strategic planning and financial growth.

“Courtney had a passion for times passed and recognized an opportunity in our current market,” said SBC Director, Katy Gould. “There is just something about the store that reminds you of childhood memories and times past, all while embracing and enhancing the historical beauty of the building. It’s just a really cool space.”

Commerce Street Mercantile has also benefited from Hall’s interior design degree. Walking into the shop takes you back in time. And the older generation Hall adores is honored all around.

“What really makes me happy is when I hear people laughing while they are in here looking around,” Hall explains. “I know they get what it is I’m trying to accomplish.”

For now, Commerce Street Mercantile is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until.  5 p.m. Hours may be extended in warmer months. 

Thinking about starting a business in Haywood County or growing an existing business? Take advantage of the programs, services and resources provided by the Small Business Center. The NC Community College’s Small Business Center Network assists in starting an average of more than 600 businesses each year. Small Business Centers have an economic impact in 90% of all NC Counties each year, helping to create and retain nearly 3,000 jobs annually. Visit SBC.Haywood.edu or call 828.627.4512 for additional information.

Photos by Katy Gould. Commerce Street Mercantile is now open for business in Waynesville. Owner Courtney Hall describes the shop as a retro inspired gift shop with quirky, fun gifts. Once Courtney Hall (pictured) decided to open her own small business, she had so many questions and didn’t know who to ask for answers. She turned to HCC’s Small Business Center.