Our Story 2018



We work hard to design and manufacture as many of our products in the USA as possible because if we're going to be serious about revitalizing small town America, then we have to be serious about American manufacturing and the small towns that depend on it. That's what Laurel was founded on, and that's what'll keep her strong.

In 1901, the Laurel Mercantile Co. opened in downtown Laurel and was a bastion of commerce in our city, supplying dry goods and work wares until the 1930s. As industry changed, so did the needs and eventually the doors closed. Many decades have passed and “The City Beautiful” is seeing a revival as a haven for entrepreneurs, artists, and makers. In 2016 a partnership was formed between the Napiers, Nowells and Rasberrys, 3 couples made up of family and long-time best friends. They used their combined expertise in history, design, historic preservation, organizational management, finance and accounting to reopen Laurel’s bygone hometown store. The doors of the new Laurel Mercantile Co. opened on Front Street in December 2016. LMCo. is the only place to find our signature collection including Scotsman Co., the store’s flagship brand of Ben’s handmade reclaimed furniture and gentlemen’s workwear, American-made heirloom wares and durable goods for home and life.
- Kind regards, Erin & Ben Napier, Emily & Josh Nowell, Mallorie & Jim Rasberry

Meet the Mercantile Family

Ben & Erin Napier

Owners | VP of Marketing, Creative Director
We’re a couple whom our friends and neighbors might assert are attached at the hip based on how often they’ve seen us apart from one another. Erin is an artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design, Ben is a woodworker with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, both graduates from the University of Mississippi. Together, we’re doing what we can to revitalize our town by restoring historic homes on HGTV’s Home TownErin has been writing a daily journal documenting the best thing that happens every single day of her life since January 1, 2010. Click here to read the journal from the beginning. We’re in love with the quiet life in our very small Mississippi town, collectors of old cars and keepers of an old house and an old building, both in the heart of downtown Laurel. Historic design for paper, furniture and homes are our bread and butter and if we live to see our hometown fully revitalized someday, that will be enough. 

Josh and Emily Nowell

Josh & Emily Nowell

Owners | CEO, VP of Operations
A blind date brought us together after graduating from Ole Miss (Josh) and the University of Southern Miss (Emily). We spent the early years of our marriage on the road as traveling landmen and the founders of Petrolia Land Co., until Emily found out she was expecting. While this lifestyle was certainly fun, it did not seem very practical to bring a baby home to a hotel room. So, we came back to Mississippi to put down roots, investing in historic real estate development in Josh's hometown, Laurel, while restoring a historic house for our growing family to call home. These days, you’ll find our fingerprint on several of the revitalized historic businesses in downtown Laurel, each of them breathing new life into our central business district.

Jim & Mallorie Rasberry

Owners | Chairman, VP of Procurement
Have you ever heard, “They were in the right place at the right time?” Well, that's exactly how we found each other—meeting by chance at Erin's (Jim's first cousin and Mallorie's college roommate and best friend) senior art thesis at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. While we have had success in our careers (Mallorie as a CPA, Jim as a financial advisor, with his own firm, Rasberry Financial) we have always been passionate about revitalization. There is nothing like bringing something back to life—whether it’s a historic home, a tired old tablecloth or our small town, it's satisfying to create value in something that has been worn, loved, then forgotten. We’re excited and proud for our little city and, much like the two kids in Oxford that night, we hope that we are in the right place at the right time to make a big difference.

Ethan Manning

Art Director
I’m a designer, letterer and illustrator born and raised in South Mississippi. My wife and I are serious letterpress fiends and nerds of all things typographic. I am completely infatuated with design history and how certain movements in the arts have affected the history of the world as a whole. My wife, Leanna, and I love all things old and historic. We spent an entire vacation in Chicago antiquing and hunting for old hand-painted signage, so one could say that we are obsessed. I love researching typefaces and translating that research into hand-lettering. It blows my mind that just a few letters on a piece can tell an incredibly massive story. I live in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with my wife Leanna and our two dachshunds, Scarlett and Ruby.

Aly Smith

Store Manager
Hailing from Yazoo City, a sleepy Delta town where a dog named Skip roamed and kudzu and cotton remain king, Aly found herself a Jones County boy named Jordan while attending Ole Miss. After saying “I do,” the two moved to Tennessee, but shortly thereafter felt Mississippi calling them home in the fall of 2016. As luck would have it, Aly's dear friends, owners of the Mercantile, were looking for help and Aly was ready to take a chance on a new career. Aly and Jordan are making themselves at home in the historic district and are so excited to be back in the City Beautiful.

Still have questions that need answerin'?