Nashville-based White’s Mercantile opened in NuLu on Friday. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

White’s Mercantile, a Nashville-based retail concept that mimics old-time general stores with a modern eye, has opened in NuLu.

The stores, which are targeted to “the modern-day tastemaker,” offer items such as high-end home goods, gifts and various other items. The Louisville location, at 805 E. Market in a space that previously was Mahonia Studio, is the brand’s fifth opening.

The brand was created by the singer-songwriter Holly Williams in 2013 when an old gas station was converted into the first White’s Mercantile. The store was intended to “fill a shopping void” at the time, according to the company.

Not only has the brand spread to Louisville, but six more stores are planned for 2019.

White’s Mercantile is loosely based on old general stores. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

The Louisville store will be operated by Amanda Eckmann, who relocated to Louisville with her family last March. The Indiana University graduate worked in New York and Chicago before working for Williams in Nashville, and the two decided to collaborate on a store in Louisville to coincide with Eckmann’s move.

Williams is the majority owner, while Eckmann is the local owner and general manager.

“It was a perfect fit,” Eckmann said. “When I found NuLu, I knew we had to bring this to Louisville.”

Williams is the granddaughter of Hank Williams Sr. While that provided musical influence, her maternal grandparents, June and Warren White, served as the inspiration behind White’s Mercantile. Williams wanted to create a nostalgic environment to evoke the general store experience that was so common in America in the early part of the 20th century.

The curated shop carries a wide assortment of items, from novelties to clothing, gifts, cocktail items, books, candles, clothing, artwork kitchen and bath accessories, pet items and more. One example is a bullet-shaped bottle opener in the cocktails section. A few antique signs and other relics help set the mood.

In addition, several local brands, primarily food, are stocked, including Cellar Door Chocolates, Bourbon Barrel Foods, Wells Made Co. and Whelpdale Chocolates.

Eckmann said the local selection will grow, as the goal is to stock about 30 percent local items.

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Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies. Email Kevin at [email protected]