Crossing the threshold of E Smith Mercantile, it is immediately apparent that this is not your everyday modern store. Curiosities, locally sourced goods and traditional products that you just don’t see anymore. Part museum, part general store, part saloon: for an Austrian kid who grew up reading about cowboys and indians, this is how I pictured the general store.
The authenticity comes honestly. Inspired by their grandparents, Elmer and Mary Smith, who lived in a small gold-mining town at the edge of the Sawtooth mountains in Southern Idaho, Kate and her two daughters, Sarah and Jessie, built a brand-new shopping experience that rests gently on the past but points clearly toward the future. Once popular products that have long disappeared from modern shops are brought back to prominent display. And new products with a traditional ethos are promoted for their local sourcing and sustainable manufacturing. Old and new are presented on an equal footing and the balance is spot on.
The ease with which their product range fits together is no surprise once you spend some time talking with Sarah, Kate and Jessie. As a family, they truly exude the relaxed charm and freshness that the store expresses.
E Smith Mercantile is truly a “general” store with interesting offerings in a range of product categories. And like any general store worth its salt, it also offers an interesting range of local edible goods and beverages. Just past the merchandise you will find yourself greeted by bartender Jessie at a wonderfully crafted “U” shaped bar. At four o’ clock the bar is open, along with a tiny well-organized kitchen which prepares small dishes of locally sourced food. Have a seat and you will find yourself in the company of locals and like-minded patrons for good conversation, food and cocktails, all made with local ingredients … of course.