Stephanie Kinney and Amanda Lewis bring their home goods shop from Haddonfield to Collingswood this spring, relaunching in the former DePace Sport Museum as Mercantile 1888.
By Matt Skoufalos | March 16, 2023
When the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, coworkers Stephanie Kinney and Amanda Lewis spent some of their down time delving into furniture refinishing.
What they didn’t expect to find was how much they enjoyed some of the antique works they’d salvaged without repurposing them.
Customers caught on, too, and soon Kinney and Lewis opened RS Home Company, a spin-off of their original name for the business, Rusted Salvage.
After launching the brand in The Shoppes at Medford Mill, an artisan co-op in Medford, the duo began looking for a storefront of their own.
They found one at 221 B Kings Highway East in downtown Haddonfield, and expanded their inventory from rustic and antique goods to include products sourced from local, small businesses.
“We’ve definitely built clientele,” Kinney said. “We found things that we’re maybe lacking in the area, and then tried to find local makers who either do it already, or would be into making a product for the shop.
“It’s grown, and probably gotten a little out of control,” she said. “Now we need more space.”
To that end, the company is changing addresses for the second time in three years, as RS Home Company plans a move to downtown Collingswood. Kinney and Lewis are taking their business into the former DePace Sports Museum at 765 Haddon Avenue, and rebranding as Mercantile 1888.
The name change reflects a pivot both in terms of inventory and address. “Mercantile” better describes its selection of “the practical stuff, the gifty stuff, the vintage stuff, and hopefully clothing,” Kinney said, and 1888 is the year Collingswood was incorporated.
“We feel like this [Haddonfield] space has served the purpose we needed at the time, and we’re growing into the space we need,” she said. “There was no hesitation or reservation; it’s just the right fit.”
The storefront at 765 Haddon Avenue most recently operated as a branch of William Penn Bank, but Kinney and Lewis think it will fit right in with the Haddon Avenue retail scene in downtown Collingswood.
Joining with shops that offer vintage and eclectic home goods — like Clutter, Dig This, Time Lapse, Occasionette, Bespoke, and Everette Wilson Designs — felt like adding to a district that’s finding an audience for its brick-and-mortar retailers.
“I think the vintage scene is what draws me to Collingswood,” Kinney said.
“Clutter people could be great for us, Dig This people; Occasionette, Bespoke people.
“We’ve never been in a competitive mindset,” she said.
“This is everybody’s passion; as a small business, we’re all just trying to make it.”
Kinney also believes that the variety of inventory on display at Mercantile 1888 will complement existing offerings in the borough shopping district.
“A lot of our stuff is quality over quantity,” she said. “If we have something, especially if it’s decorative, we don’t often get more than two. We don’t want you walking into your friend’s house and everyone has the same piece. We usually know the person making some of it.”
Local brands on the shelves at RS Home Company include the Philadelphia-based Vellum Street Soap, Redwood Durable of Collingswood, Haddonfield-based Bully Bows, and Mission Therapeutics CBD of Haddon Heights.
“We keep it pretty local, we try to keep eco-friendly,” Kinney said. “We like our jobs, but we always say this doesn’t feel like work.”
Changing addresses again will be bittersweet, Kinney said, but the retailers say their time in Haddonfield was important for helping grow the business.
“I think of us moving, it’s ultimately where we want to be,” she said. “Haddonfield loves us, and that gave us the drive to be a little bit bigger and want to grow.
“We’re growing, and moving down the street,” Kinney said. “That’s what we’re into: keeping a historic space alive.”
Mercantile 1888 is headed for a spring 2023 opening at 765 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood. For more information, follow RS Home Company, or call 856-701-6187.
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