Community Store renamed as Village Mercantile

Melinda Little, board president of the Saranac Lake retailer formerly known as the Community Store, presents its new name and brand Friday evening: Village Mercantile. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

SARANAC LAKE — The department store formerly known as the Community Store unveiled its new brand Friday night — Village Mercantile.

Over wine and cheese and other hors d’oeuvres, store board members presented the new brand to the assembled onlookers. The new brand includes the tag line, “anything but general.”

“I want to say this whole process began well over a year ago,” said Melinda Little. “We all worked hard to make tonight come to pass.”

She said the store raised $82,900 in its push to raise debt capital through WeFunder, a crowdfunding service. The store plans to use its new brand, expanded range of locally produced products and soon-to-be launched e-commerce site to boost sales. Since it opened, the store has not made an annual profit.

Little said the website will launch next week.

Franny Preston, board member of the Village Mercantile — formerly known as the Saranac Lake Community Store — gives a speech to a crowd at the brand unveiling Friday evening. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

“We wanted something that harkened back to the turn of the (19th) century,” said Kelly Hofschneider of GreatRange, the firm that developed the new brand, “but also with a nod to the future.”

Doug Haney of GreatRange said the brand was locally inspired, developed through months of focus groups, on-the-street interviews and phone calls.

Little said the sign out front will be changed Saturday morning. After the board members spoke, they worked their way around the store, hanging up the new name and tag line.

“I love it,” said Mary Abendroth of Bloomingdale, “It’s unique in its way, and it says what it is.”

The store’s offerings are modeled after the village Ames department store that closed down in 2002. In 2006, after a Walmart withdrew its plans to build a Supercenter in the village, a group of residents formulated a locally owned solution. Shares were sold at $100, and the store ended up raising more than half a million dollars between 2007 and 2011, when the store opened.

The Village Mercantile board ordered a new brand to be developed after noticing that people unfamiliar with the store’s story thought it was a thrift store or consignment shop.

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