My Story

Posted by Matthew Bretherick on

Hey friends!

Thanks for stopping by- grab your coffee and stay a while! I’ve had a large amount of shoppers asking about my story, so I figured I’d start a blog so everyone can follow my journey. I hope to be able to use this to continue to tell you my story as the pages turn and to also spotlight great home decor/decorating trends.

To those of you just now finding us, my name is Matthew Bretherick and I am the owner of a small chain of home decor and gift stores. Let’s take things back to where my journey began, in July of 2015... I had been working for a corporate retailer for seven and a half years, and I decided it was time for a change. I applied for several positions in their corporate office but the advancement opportunities never came my way. After a much needed vacation, I came back to put in my two week notice. A couple of days later, I started to work for a little, locally-owned, farmhouse style, store in Arrington, Tennessee. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was not going to be able to survive on this small town salary alone, so I asked the owner about some options to make more money. She suggested that I should think about becoming a vendor. I thought to myself, “How could I be a vendor? I just started and I’m literally flying by the seat of my pants.” She suggested that I buy and sell vintage pieces and that I should probably learn how to paint furniture. That week was the start of The Gentleman’s Stache. I was the only male vendor at the store so a quirky play on words only made sense. It was my stuff, my “Stache”. I tried painting furniture for a couple of months...

After growing her business and my own, I was approached with the opportunity to buy the little store in Arrington and operate under a franchise. With any decision of this magnitude, most would think it through a little more than I did. I didn’t know how I could pull it off, but I had to take a chance on myself. A year and a half passed by quicker than I could imagine. As the summer wound down, I got a phone call and had the opportunity to lease another space in our shopping strip. This was my second opportunity to build on my own brand. In August of 2017, The Gentleman’s Stache opened as a brick and mortar offering a more modern and industrial flare. My goal was to make it to where everyone could find something in our strip of stores. Don’t let the name fool you, ladies, there are things for you at The Stache, too. 

Fast forward a few months, and some more changes were on the horizon. In May of 2018, growth was happening for the franchise. Change was happening for everyone and terms were also slowly changing. At this time, I decided it was time for me to control everything that happened in my stores. In less than two weeks, Mercantile 1858 at Arrington was created. I have always wanted to hang on to the history of our area, and I saw the rebrand as an opportunity to tell a story. Our little area is growing rapidly and of the 200 homes currently on the market in our area, most are new builds. I want to remind the community, new and old, that the original part of our shopping strip was built in 1858.

If all these changes weren’t enough, August 2018 brought along another adventure, CONSTRUCTION. Our strip of shops is on a very busy highway and there have always been talks of widening the road, but this past August talks were becoming more of a reality. After power lines were being relocated for a widening of the road, I started to worry. “What happens if this construction knocks out my businesses?” “Do I need to think about closing the shops?” “How do I leave our shoppers? They’ve become my extended family.” As a small business owner, I have everything that I own tied into this business. There are great days, but there are twice as many difficult days. I had every emotion running through my body and I had to start thinking. I got on trusty ol’ Google and started looking for an answer. I found an answer in the form of an old tractor repair shop that was nestled just past some of the historic homes of Franklin, Tennessee on West Main Street. I signed the lease the day after looking at the space and in less than a month, we were open for business. 

There is nothing that is easy about being a small business owner. There is also nothing as rewarding. Thank you for reading part of my story and be sure to stop by often to read more about me, the stores and, OF COURSE, I will be showing you tons of product.

Shop Mercantile 1858

Shop The Gentleman’s Stache

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