‘Eclectic’ shop in Lee branches out into new territory

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TOWN OF LEE — The Eclectic Mercantile is open for business and bringing with it a little bit of everything for everyone.

The Eclectic Mercantile, located on Turin Road in Rome, is owned and operated by Valerie Thron-Pollack and her husband Darren Pollack.

The couple also owns the Eclectic Chic in Oneida and both stores offer all manner of items up for sale from antiques and primitives to housewares and furniture.

Since opening the Chic around four years ago, Thron-
Pollack said, it’s been a cycle of
expansion and growth that lead to them branching out into new territory.

Thron-Pollack said opportunity presented itself when the owner of the Turin Road building came to them. “He was very familiar with the Eclectic Chic and wanted a good, clean business to move in,” she said. “And here we are.”

“We knew there was a need for a store like this in the area,” Pollack said.

Thron-Pollack said she thinks they’ve managed to create another unique shopping experience in the area with a “different vibe” than the Chic.

“It’s a bit smaller scale than the Chic, but still very much enjoyable and a pleasure to be here,” Thron-Pollack said. There’s quite a bit for sale at the Eclectic Mercantile from all over Madison and Oneida County.

“We have a lot of local vendors, which is great,” Thron-Pollack said. “ADK Furniture is here and they make all the furniture by hand. There’s Cindy Helmer out of Chittenango, a fusion art glassmaker. She’s got a good taste and flair to her work.”

There’s several kinds of food items for sale as well, from maple syrup and maple candy from Grimm’s Maple Products in Blossvale to Buttercup Cheese from Syracuse. Old fashioned candy finds its way from Syracuse and Country Cupboard in Little Falls has many soups for sale.

“We try to keep everything as local as possible,” Thron-Pollack said. Between Us Sisters from Munnsville, she added, recently had a soft retirement. “They closed their brick and mortar store and joined the Eclectic Chic. When the Mercantile opened up, I approached them.”

A whole portion of the storefront is dedicated to Between Us Sisters and features all of their hand-sewn goods.

The store just opened in November, Thron-Pollack said, so there’s still room to grow and change come 2020.

“Originally, one of the storefronts was going to be a cafe. There’s a need for it in the area,” Thron-Pollack said. “We thought how nice it would be to have a place for people to sit down and drink coffee.”

There are plans to put in stairs and expand the upstairs area come 2020, Thron-Pollack said, so the hope is still there to have a cafe. When asked why stores like the Chic and Mercantile are important to the community, Thron-Pollack said it’s all about keeping history alive.

“Stores like this bring the local history to life,” Thron-Pollack said. “We have to remember where we came from and not forget the origins of Rome or wherever you grew up in.”

Peter Leonard, author of “Images of America: Rome Revisited”, “Images of America: Griffis Airforce Base” and “Rome through Time” was one of the many customers to stop into the Eclectic Mercantile Tuesday afternoon.

When asked what made him stop in, Leonard said a friend of his is a vendor at the Eclectic Mercantile and told him she just picked up a collection of Rome memorabilia.

“This store really is an eclectic mix,” Leonard said. “Any business in Rome is good business. A lot of people complain there isn’t in the city or there’s nothing to do. It’s small shops like this that need to be supported because if you don’t, they go away.”

And the Mercantile has a loyal customer base that supports it. Pollack said some people frequently shop both the Eclectic Chic and the Eclectic Mercantile.

“At the end of the day, we don’t care if anybody buys anything. Just buy a cup of coffee and walk around,” Thron-Pollack said. “Because that tells me people enjoy it as a place to relax. We don’t just want to be a store. We want to be a place for the community.”

The Eclectic Mercantile is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those looking to become a vendor or looking for more information can call 315-371-0029. The Eclectic Mercantile is located at 8585 Turin Road in Rome.

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