Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quilt Shop Watch: Lake St Mercantile

**no affiliation**no affiliation**no affiliation**

Warning: this is a rather long post about a fabulous quilt shop in Southern Michigan.  This might not be of interest to those who do not live in Michigan, have no plans to visit Michigan, does not like reading stories about unknown quilt shops or does not know me.  If you are an RV’ing quilter – you might be interested as this shop is near beautiful Kensington Metropark and conveniently located between Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit

*post reprinted from a recent email per a friends request*

I recently came back from a wonderful daytrip and really, really had to share!  Now, being a former military wife, I’ve visited a lot of quilt shops around the country – North Carolina, Cape Cod/Boston, Western Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, some beautiful ones in Western Missouri, etc…. and some have made me say “WOW”.  I visited one just like that in Michigan

Lake St. Mercantile was featured in an issue of Quilt Sampler Magazine with their quilt featured on the cover.  Having a day off and some $$ in my pocket, I decided to go for an adventure.  The shop is a pretty drive about a half hour west of Detroit – very easy to get to via I-696 in a small hamlet of South Lyon. (I liked South Lyon – reminded me greatly of the towns along Route 1 in Maine – all these old buildings converted into business without losing its charm).

Lake St. Mercantile is a 120+ year old bank converted into a quilt shop.  The owner, Cindy Jones, and her husband completely restored the building with brick walls, hardwood floors, and very rustic counters & displays.  This is the old bank vault filled with the loveliest sale fabrics!

When I walked in, I knew my pocketbook was in trouble.  All the fabrics sung to me, and, I must admit, I was wondering if I sold my car if I could afford a cut of every piece of fabric in the place J

These fabrics were “my fabrics” – my favorite colors and fabric lines.  In the entrance were deep, rich colors from fabric lines like Andover, Windham, Thimbleberries, Moda, etc.  Each room had it own theme.  Upstairs was an entire room of Repros & wools, etc.  SO MUCH GORGEOUS STUFF!  And when they stock their shelves, they normally buy everything in a fabric line. 

As I stood there with my mouth watering, I heard a “hello” from the brightly-lit and very inviting backroom/classroom.  Out steps Cindy who greeted me like we’ve been friends forever.  Now, I teach customer service reps, and my first thought is that they could really learn a few things from her.  Not only was she engaging, she was really interested in who you were, where you were from, etc.  It was nice not only being acknowledged (had some problems in that area lately) but also being listened to.  She was such a “people person” – reminded me a lot of my late mother who could talk to anyone and enjoyed the experience! 

I eventually moseyed up to the “repro room” where a super-friendly lady (wish I had caught her name) cut some fat quarters for me while listening to me babble interminably.  (Have you had that problem with fat quarters lately?  I’ve been in a few shops lately that will no longer cut fat quarters for you – how frustrating!)   

One thing I forgot to mention were the sample quilts everywhere – each sample hanging on the wall or draped on the counter suited the fabrics in the immediate area.  Now, I’ve always considered myself pretty good (sorry if I sound arrogant – don’t mean to be) at putting fabrics together, but some of these samples really made me think – hmmm…. Wouldn’t have thought to put THOSE together… looks wonderful…..  It really motivated me to go home and get quilting!

It was really hard to pull my self away from the shop, but I know I’ll definitely be heading back.  Normally when I plan these adventures, I pick a few shops in the area and “make a day of it”, but I decided not to go anywhere else  – knew that my experience there spoiled me!

I did, however, have to stop at the restaurant they recommended in Quilt Sampler: The South Lyon Hotel which was an easy walk around the block.  (Remember if you go to this quilt shop there’s parking behind the building – you don’t have to parallel park out front). 

Now, I’m normally not a fan of eating at hotels because when I fabric shop I’m normally dressed quite casually.  Didn’t have to worry here – this 140-year old hotel was very rustic and very comfortable.  The restaurant was similar to the quilt shop: wood floors, original details, and everything on the wall meant something.  The food was good, inexpensive, quite hot & served by the friendliest little waitress.  I realize now that I’ll need to drag my Dad out to South Lyon – the atmosphere was very reminiscent to the little diners and such in middle Massachusetts.

Thanks for listening and “sharing” my day with me!


  1. Sounds perfect to me :) I'll let you know what interesting things I find in Lancaster tomorrow :)

  2. Having been a long time resident of South Lyon, your review made me smile. I do love this pretty little town!


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