Bex Farleigh and Mikey Huff are Anchorage’s newest entrepreneurial dynamic duo. Open since June 3, The Mercantile is a quality menswear, leather goods and accessories shop located in the heart of downtown Anchorage which is something Farleigh and Huff wanted to introduce to Anchorage.
“All these lady shops in town are awesome and they have all these different local shopping options for women, but none really for men. So we just decided to build that niche,” Huff said.
The idea sprung when Huff, who runs his leather working business, Huff Goods, wanted to have a place and supply the city with his unique handmade products.
“It kind of started when Mikey was getting more serious with Huff Goods and he wanted to have a place in Anchorage where he could stock his work, and there really wasn’t anywhere that matched the aesthetic. Then, after awhile, we started to talk about the opportunity there was to bring something new and cool to Anchorage,” Farleigh said.
The aesthetic of the store can be described in many ways. With strong Americana vibes and antique workmanship, the store appeals to a large range of people.
The store carries high-quality clothes, accessories and grooming products, with ethical trade and American made rising to the top of The Mercantile’s values.
“Most of our brands are California based, mostly made in America brands. All of our brands are really high-quality goods and they’re something that’s going to last a long time and is ethically sourced,” Farleigh said.
In addition to Huff Goods and Huff’s workshop, the store is stocked with a handful of Alaskan made products as well.
“We have another leather worker called Backwoods Leather and Stitching, we carry his baseball glove line — he makes everything out of recycled baseball gloves,” Farleigh said.
Other Alaska based brands include Forty Ninth Supply co., Cut and Caliber, Alaskan Handmade and Gold Heart Supply.
Both Farleigh and Huff have a wide range of Instagram followers. This “insta-fame” has helped spread the word about their business and is setting them up for success.
“It’s pretty much been the sole way we’ve gotten the word out. We haven’t paid for any advertising. We’ve also been using our own Instagram following to push it. I think without Instagram or Facebook, we probably wouldn’t be here. It’s been the best possible way to reach out to people,” Farleigh said.
The couple did all the construction themselves, from the leather workbench to the dressing rooms that were made from an old shed they found on their church’s property.
“We had to earn a lot about construction, writing a business plan — things I never thought I would have to deal with. I’ve learned a lot for sure. Everyday we learn something new,” Farleigh said.
Leather working is a relatively new craft for Huff, and has been a part of his life for the last year and a half.
“I was on a hike with my buddy, and he mentioned that he wanted a leather belt and a leather wallet. Christmas was coming up and I just thought I could make both of those things maybe. So I bought some leather and just got started.”
Huff’s self-made leather goods brand is stationed in the front of the store. His workbench, complete with all of his leather and tools, is accessible by the public to make custom orders or repairs.
Find Huff and Farleigh at The Mercantile, Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday 12:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 400 W. Fourth Avenue.