March 7, 2014

The Mercantile

There is no doubt that San Luis Obispo has a passion for supporting local.
You can witness it every Thursday night at the Farmer's Market among the hundreds of people lining the streets
 to support their favorite businesses and farmers. There is a 'love your neighbor' that shines from so many
 businesses, entrepreneurs, and citizens in this city.

On November 21, 2013, a new shop opened its doors to show their way of loving the locals.

The Mercantile is nestled on Chorro Street, just across from the San Luis Obispo Mission.
They have a variety of local products from artisans and foodies in the area. Their hope is to continually appeal to 
locals and visitors alike, showcasing the endless creativity and excellence of the Central Coast. 

I had the joy of meeting Aly Pulford, who helped opened the shop in November. 
I asked her a few questions about the heart and history behind this new SLO stop.

Tell me a bit about The Mercantile. How did they begin and how are the Catteneo Brothers involved? 

Cattaneo Bros. was founded by brothers, Bill and Pino Cattaneo. The brothers moved from Italy to the Central Coast in 1899 and began working at a butcher shop in downtown SLO. Eager to branch out, they took their knowledge and $200 to begin
their own sausage and jerky business in 1947, called Cattaneo Bros. 67 years later,
the Cattaneo Bros. factory still stands at 769 Caudill Street in SLO.

In 1988, Mike and Jayne Kaney bought Cattaneo Bros. with the dream of continuing the tradition of a beloved local business. They grew the company as a couple, all the while, raising four children and instilling strong business integrity in each of them. This is where their daughter, current owner and president, Katelyn Kaney came into the picture. Growing up, Katelyn watched and learned from her parents as they expanded their product lines and took the business to a new level.

Katelyn took the reins of Cattaneo Bros. in 2008 after enduring the devastating loss of both of her parents to cancer. 
Since becoming president Kaney has been focused on providing her customers with healthy 
products and meeting the demands of a growing health-conscious community.

It has always been a dream of Katelyn's to open a retail store. 
Katelyn's mother, Jayne, owned a shop in downtown SLO called The Backdoor, where Katelyn spent her childhood 
soaking in her mother's creativity and business integrity. Nearly 30 years later, passion and circumstance have collided.

 The Mercantile boasts the Cattaneo Bros. name while being located 
in the exact building where The Backdoor was once open for business.

What are some of your favorite reasons for working with The Mercantile? 

We have really gotten to research some wonderfully unique and awesome companies
 that we may not have otherwise known, all because of The Mercantile.
Since we are lucky enough to carry a little of everything, we’ve built partnerships with
San Luis Soap Co., TheraBee Honey, Robbins Family Farm, and Templeton Toffee, just to name a few! 
We are constantly on the hunt for local foods, gifts, jewelry, you name it! We love that The Mercantile has allowed
 us to tap into all that our community has to offer.

What kinds of items would you like to see more of in the future? 

Because of the nature of a true mercantile, the product possibility is endless! Our main focus is reaching out to as many local artisans as we can. We truly want The Mercantile to reflect the uniqueness and offerings of the Central Coast, and we believe the best way to do that is through relationships with local, creative and talented business owners.

What are your favorite products that you carry? 

Obviously our jerky is my favorite. Nothing beats Cattaneo Bros. Mesquite Cowboy Cut Jerky! A favorite item that we carry is the infused honey from TheraBee Honey. It is outstanding. But then again, so are the soaps we carry. And the jewelry. And the adorable tea towels we got in the other day. Clearly I love it all. I don’t believe anyone can walk into the shop without finding just one item they like and if they can’t find something, they can tell us and chances are we can get it in by the following week!

This shop is a perfect example of San Luis Obispo: Creative and Resourceful, Industrious, and Generous to it's Neighbor. I love this necklace I bought there, it's my new favorite thing to wear!

Be sure to stop by The Mercantile next time you're downtown and don't forget to like them on Facebook! If you can't stop by the store, be sure to visit the Catteneo Bros. online- their free-range beef jerky is tops! 


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