Filled with charm and curated vintage and country-style finds, Bluebell Mercantile and Co. opened last September in Marine on St. Croix, Minn., and is quickly becoming a favorite local shopping experience. The historic white school house, built in 1870, has been transformed into a destination shop for home décor, kitchenware, gifts and accessories, which showcase owner Mallory Kunz’s signature style—an updated twist to classic country and Western vintage flair.
Bluebell Mercantile is a dream come true for Kunz, who has wanted to do this since childhood.
“It started when I was about 7 or 8, I really got into Country Living Magazine. I would read stacks and stacks with my grandmother, and I really got into decorating. Everything I’ve done through the years has really led up to this point,” says Kunz, who has a background in graphic design, branding and photography.
“I wanted a store with so much character that it would be about the experience when you come in,” she says.
“I really enjoy the vintage items she carries; Mallory has a great eye,” says Kathleen Squier of Stillwater, who frequents the shop. “I love the Western items she carries. She’s one of the only places around here where you can find the cowboy boot, American Indian items, things like that that are a Western style … I’ve found some wonderful things like a palomino horse statue … My daughter and I both found wonderful vintage fabric table cloths that are absolutely gorgeous.”
Kunz grew up in the St. Croix Valley, and having long admired the white schoolhouse building, she and her partner in life and business Nick Mundt jumped on the opportunity to purchase the building, which was then used as a piano studio. (Mundt is also co-host of Bone Collector and Realtree Roadtrips on Outdoor Channel.)
Prior to the store, in addition to being a stay-at-home mom, Kunz has maintained a successful blog: Hayseed Homemakin’ drew national attention from the likes of Martha Stewart, Junk Gypsys and Loren Conrad, as well as Pottery Barn, for her portrayal of a keen eye and decorating style. Kunz plans to tie the store into the blog as well.
“I just enjoy decorating or making something, photographing it and sharing it,” she says. “We’ve got this old farmhouse we’ve renovated, and it’s just up the river from the store, and I am going to be showing all of this stuff from the store in my own home, how I decorate, and the things I looks for and collect.”
The store’s smaller ornaments, vintage pieces and pantry goods start at $10 and range up to purses and blankets, which can cost $100–$300. You can find brands like Pendleton, Minnetonka Moccasins, Crow Canyon Enamelware and Rifle Paper Co. Kunz also does American Indian beading and sells her earrings in the store, hoping to add to her accessory offerings as well.