By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — It has only been a few months since Will Cooper and Shannon Bryant opened the Newkirk Mercantile on North Main Street. Originally Finders Keepers antiques, they rebranded as the store, keeping the antiques, but they also had a bigger scope in mind. They are now realizing that vision as they are offering new services to the Newkirk and Kay County communities.
On a quiet Friday afternoon, June 10, Bryant is standing behind the counter at the store. She has long been hearing the community’s response about the business.
“They’re saying that is is nice, refreshing, it is walkable and shoppable,” she said, referring to the new open atmosphere within the store, a rejuvenation process that continues today. “They’re happy we’re organized, with a variety of items.”
In the next room, Cooper and an assistant are hard at work with those renovations. The back of the main room is also filled with continued construction work, both of which will add to the facility. In the back of the main room is the making of an upcoming drive-thru, which will enhance community access to their food and beverage offerings which includes coffee, imported from Washington State, available in both coffee beans and grounds, a well as individual drinks.
“We are in the process of getting a drive-thru. The utility pole has already been moved,” she said. “We don’t have a date set yet, but the drive-thru enables us to have earlier hours.”
The renovations are already benefitting the store, as they are finding items previously hidden, a virtual treasure hunt of goods.
“We’re continuing to unlock treasures in the building, because there are things we haven’t seen yet,” Bryant said.
When Cooper and Bryant first took over Finders Keepers and rebranded it Newkirk Mercantile , they quickly added new products and opportunities, which included a remodeling of the front room, adding not just coffee, but also other flavored drinks for those who don’t enjoy coffee, along with candy, scones, cake pops, cotton candy and kitchen and baking options.
Spring offerings have also been added, such as produce and flower seeds and saplings, along with potted plants and soil for planting the items.
“We have annual and perennial flowers and vegetables, hanging baskets, herbs,” Bryant said. “We have been getting requests, and we’re trying to meet the needs of our customers.”
More has been added in the second room, where reconstruction is ongoing. That includes a key-making machine, the first such business since Briggs Hardware closed in 2019. A new aquarium will keep kids and adults fascinated with species such as cichlids and Jack Dorsey fish, both of which are freshwater species.
As far as the menu, there is new sausage, from Wisconsin River Meats. Selections include buffalo, venison (deer) and elk. New energy beverages are also offered through Lotus Energy Drinks.
“These are plant-based energy drinks, and they are organic,” she said. “We also have a new fish tank for adults and kids to look at, and everyone will enjoy it.”
One other change is business hours as the facility is closing at noon Mondays for family time, she said.
As for why all the changes are being enacted, it is simply an effort to offer more of what the community seeks, to keep customers shopping locally.
“We’re very excited about what it’s doing to the community, bringing everyone together,” Bryant said.