Brightly lit, clean and orderly, the Front Range Mercantile is 21,000 square feet of treasure tucked into an old roller rink at the southwest corner of Ken Pratt Boulevard and South Sunset Street.
Vicky Andrew has been a part of the Front Range Mercantile since it opened 31 years ago, and has been an owner for 29 of those.
“When it started out, it was more like a true flea market,” Andrew said. “It’s evolved into what it is now because that’s what our customers have asked for, a nice, clean store with lots of goodies.”
Andrew and her partners moved the Mercantile into its current location seventeen years ago, remodeling the space that used to be a Roll-O-Rena, and have been going strong through the pandemic. They closed the space for two months during the beginning of the pandemic and then opened up without missing a beat.
“We have wonderful, loyal customers. Even with the masks and everything else, our customers keep coming back,” Andrew said. “I’m still asking people to wear masks and I’m not getting much guff over it. Our customers are of the mindset better to be safe than sorry.”
The Mercantile has more than 90 vendors selling antiques, toys, books and more. There are rows of books and signs, vintage license plates, countless unique pieces and more than a few oddities. Andrews explained the vendors bring in their own items and maintain their stall, but the Mercantile is not a consignment store. The vendors set their prices and Andrew and her staff take care of the rest.
“I have one lady that’s been a vendor here for 30 years, she’s 91 now,” Andrew said. “We don’t see much turnover with our vendors, and we have a waitlist that’s about two-and-a-half years out.”
“We like the owners, they treat us well and it’s good business,” said Loretta Locket, a vendor at the Mercantile. “It’s a fun hobby for my retirement, collecting antiques, collectibles and vintage things, and I can put old things to use again.”
Andrew is always happy to meet new customers and help them discover the treasures inside the Mercantile.
“If they’ve never been in here before, they’re missing something,” Andrew said. “And whatever it is, we’ve probably got it here.”