As we expand, our vision for the Laurel Mercantile and Scotsman Co. stores is to cultivate a culture of growth and involvement in Downtown Laurel. We want to provide jobs and offer a creative outlet that will serve locals and visitors that grace our downtown streets. Hopefully, our endeavors will inspire others to create something beautiful in their own hometowns when they see old and dilapidated buildings come back to life here. That's why we're excited to share a glimpse into the unfolding story and major makeover of one of Laurel's most downtrodden buildings.
At the beginning of 2022, we began renovating an old building in downtown to open our new candle store. The candle store will offer all of Erin's best-selling scented candles, room sprays, and hand soaps. Without spoiling the suprise, let's just say that its decor, theme, and customer experience will excite even the dullest noses.
This new candle store is an ode to Erin's nostalgic nature and love for specific scent memories. She explains, "I have a sensitive nose and strong attachments to scents, memories, and people. For instance, I can remember exactly what my mother's perfume smelled like in 1991 when I was six years old. I guess that's the earliest memory that I have."
Erin dreamed of opening a space dedicated to her growing candle line that would offer a memorable experience for nostalgic folks like herself.
Her memories and love for making candles is what led us to this important moment.
Josh Nowell, the leader of the renovation and Co-owner of Laurel Mercantile, bought the run-down building ten years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of Home Town.
He says, "This building is pretty special because I used to live across the street from it. I knew I wanted to see it developed into something worthy of its history, and thankfully, we're starting to see it transform back into its original form."
This soon-to-be candle store used to be Marcus Furniture, and its rich history reaches back to Laurel's heyday in the early 20th century. For years, Josh researched the building's history in hopes of restoring it to its original style with modern updates. The building was originally constructed with very straight lines and storefront and transom windows but has gone through many changes in its lifetime.
In 1936, David Marcus of Marcus Furniture remodeled the storefront with a late Art Deco/early mid-century style, and his renovation put his store caught the attention of many. He ended up installing architectural glass, called vitrolite, all over the front of the building, and it became the first glass storefront in Mississippi with architectural glass. It was a stunning storefront and people travelled long ways to shop there. The glamour eventually eroded, facades changed with the times, businesses left, and downtown life died for a long period.
Josh continues, "This renovation is more of a restoration project to bring it back to what it was in 1936. It helps that a lot of that art deco detail is still there. Buried, but still there. We built a new roof and floor joists, and we will recreate the architectural detail to bring it back to its full glory."
With a love for restoration and our growing scent line, this new space will be the perfect place for Home Town fans to explore Erin's world and her scent memories. Perhaps, make a few new memories of their own.
Scent memories can remind us of our life's greatest moments, even the memories that might have been insignificant but mean the world to us now.
Josh says, "We wanted to build a candle store that will celebrate the power of scent because we believe they can transport you to the past or take you somewhere else. I went to Paris for the first time in high school when I was a young man. I remember the smells of the streets, the bakery, and croissants; it's probably the thing that has stuck with me most over the years."
When you visit Laurel, we hope that it's an experience you'll want to remember. We captured the essence of our hometown in the Laurel Candle, based on the sweet olive plant that grows all down Fifth Avenue.
Not only will this new candle store bring new memories to life, but it will also provide jobs for the community. Josh says, "From the beginning, we knew this wasn't just a building restoration; our story is about restoring a town. This candle store will provide opportunities for young people to move back home and pour their energy into improving their town. We're excited to be pouring a lot of our candles here, right here in Laurel."
Be on the lookout for our official opening this fall and make plans to visit during the Christmas season. (Hint: Erin is releasing a new line of scents!)