Throughout the past few years, Heart Mercantile has approached some of the most difficult challenges, like Hensler’s battle with breast cancer, the Memorial Day tornadoes in 2019, mass shooting that took place just down the block and the coronavirus pandemic. Similar to other brick-and-mortar boutiques, Heart Mercantile altered their business model to rely mostly on online sales.
“We were all freaking out because so much was unknown, but we just had to figure it out,” Gilcher and Short said in a combined statement. “We photographed 80% of the store, put it online and let people message us through social media if they saw something we posted. We turned the store into more of a pick-up spot.
“Once we opened back up at minimum capacity, we were lucky that we had customers that would wait outside in a line six feet apart if they wanted to come in and get something. Our customers were all really awesome and were really patient with us and really helped us get through it.”
In addition to selling more merchandise online, the owners have used humor and compassion to cope with the many challenges they have faced in the past few years. Apart from promoting their unique goods, the owners use social media to make people laugh, posting memes and other cheeky things to their business and special meme Facebook pages (appropriately called Heart Mementile).
“Especially during the pandemic, a meme is all that would get us through packaging a bunch of t-shirts,” Gilcher and Short said. “We enjoy bringing a little bit of laughter and light-heartedness to hard situations.”
Though they have admitted to being “snarky,” the owners of Heart Mercantile have also made it their mission to give back to their community, donating thousands of dollars to organizations like the YWCA, The House of Bread, the Dayton Foundation and the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund.
“It’s also really important to us to give to organizations and post about things that we really care about because we have a platform to do so and it’s important to use it,” Gilcher and Short said.
Be sure to head to Heart Mercantile for unique holiday gifts, like the 2021 dumpster fire ornament, the specialty clothes and even more Dayton and Ohio merchandise.
First Place: Best Place for Unique Gifts
Second Place: Best Place to Buy Dayton gifts
438 E. 5th St., Dayton