From wholesale cold cuts, to selling beads, 5200 Clark Street has changed hands only a couple times over the past few decades. These days, sitting on the corner of Clark and Fairmount is Clark Street Mercantile, a modern day menswear haven, aiming at slowing down the high paced get-it-to-my-door-step-now way of shopping. Mercantile wants to take us back to a simpler time.
With a minimalist layout, an old-fashioned general store vibe, and an owner looking to bring high quality back to the forefront of menswear, Mercantile is proving that the retail shopping experience far exceeds clicking checkout on your MacBook.
On a street where all the owners seem to know each other, Scott Meleskie, of Mercantile, is fitting in nicely. We got to sit down with Scott and talk about specialty Japanese writing utensils, what his store is all about, and high quality menswear!
The Main: What is the idea behind the name “Mercantile” and how does that relate to the stores’s identity?
Scott: Essentially, Mercantile is a synonym for a general store, and is based off an economic system coming out of the sixteenth century, called mercantilism, which pushed for countries to export more goods rather than they imported. Overall, the name works well with the neighbouring historic landmarks, like Wilenskys and Fairmont Bagel.
The general store feel is synonymous with the actual products being sold in the store. We are more than a menswear store. We carry apothecary items, specialty writing utensils, letterhead, and timepieces. The store wants to touch every part of your life. We’re more of a lifestyle shop than a menswear store, and ultimately staying true to our vision has been the key to our success.
The Main: What drew you to menswear?
Scott: I felt that there was a lack of high quality menswear stores out there, and the ones that existed already were more centered around dress and formalwear. We cater to the everyday man. Many of the menswear stores already established here carry the same brands. Our goal is to bring in brands that no one in Montreal has ever seen. Ultimately we want to be there to help educate the customers who walks in, and really highlight what makes each piece special. I want people to stop and look at the product. The store is set up that way, like a gallery or museum, if you will.
After working in advertising for many years, while also being an active blogger in the menswear sphere, I finally decided to jump ship and work on this passion project of mine. It all happened more quickly than I had planned, but the location was available and I just had to take it.
The Main: What’s next for Mercantile?
Scott: We’re going to keep doing what were doing, educating the Montreal scene on quality by bringing new and exciting brands to the city. We launched our own line of self-branded oxford shirts and pants, and we have plans to expand the collection. We are also looking to collaborate with Montreal based artists and brands in the near future.
At the end of the day, I didn’t start this business to make a million dollars…
Our Favorite Items from Mercantile:
Pointer Brand’s, Made in U.S.A, Chore Coats.
A great alternative to the recent revival of Carhartt. Super Durable Pieces that go well with bologna on white bread and a unionized job.
Fjall Raven, Outerwear
You can find their classic knapsacks at a variety of stores here in Montreal, but Mercantile carries a more extensive product line by the famous Swedish brand.
Mitsubishi, Made in Japan, Pencils
Not to be confused with the car company, these pencils are just awesome. We just need to have them. Period.
Faribault x Ebbets Fields
Faribault is known for their wool accessories. They collaborated with Ebbets Fields on a beautiful wool baseball cap that you just can’t find anywhere else in Montreal.
Visit Mercantile to discover more essentials and your inner urban gentleman.
Words by Jeremy Welik
Photo by Matthew Brooks