Expanded ‘Merc’ Becoming Talk of the Region
The search for a full-fledged one-stop shopping hub in the Florissant area has ended.
As a result, those continual trips to Woodland Park and Colorado Springs for grocery and clothing items as well as associated headaches and wasted gas over these excursions, are over for Florissant/Lake George and South Park residents.
The community, which had its struggles with the initial outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, is now booming, courtesy of the completion of a genuine, small-town market. The Florissant Mercantile, dubbed the “Merc,” which has served the community since 1997, recently put the final touches on an ambitious expansion, with the recent addition of more than 1,000 new items.
The Merc, located right off Hwy. 24 at the entrance to the town of Florissant, now offers a full selection of meat by Willamette Valley Meats, dairy, bakery items, fresh fruits, veggies, produce, a huge volume of groceries, frozen goods, beauty and health items. The market also carries propane, gifts, souvenirs, related apparel, quick grab & go items and snacks; not to mention a full lineup of camping, fishing, hunting gear and some outdoor clothing. The market houses an adjacent liquor store, with wine, beer, spirits and much more. Across the street, there is the Conoco gas station and the home of the Mountain Burger, operated by the same ownership/management team.
The Merc can also accommodate many shoppers’ needs for the holiday season, including gifts, grab-&-go travel needs and meals. The Merc feels they rally have something for everyone after the completion of the expansion effort. People seem really happy with the expansion effort and have really expressed their excitement for the variety of everything and the convenience. This is really a big thing for Florissant and Lake George.
The Merc employees cite meat, produce and organic products as the top sellers right now, but admit that many of the new items have gained much popularity.
The project has been part of the owners’ vision since day one. The Clark/McNulty-DeGarmo team have always wanted to expand the options available to the community and it’s been in the works for several years. For The Clark’s, who have played a vital role in serving the grocery and shopping needs of the region, the project is part of their legacy and passion. Les Clark, who passed away in February 2020, managed and helped bring the first modern, full-service grocery store, ‘Circle Soopers,” to Teller County in the 1960s at a site in Woodland Park,
Over the last few years, Larry Clark, the current CEO, has played a lead role in orchestrating the expansion efforts & renovations at the Florissant Mercantile. He wanted to help the original visions/dreams, of the co-owners, come to head and shine through.
COVID Crisis Response and Shopping Local
The project has become very personal for the owners and proponents of the expansion, as they witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandatory business-related shutdowns. Management feels people were afraid to go out and the entire staff at the Merc. tried to accommodate the community as best they could. They tried to help customers on a one-on-one basis and get to know them and their individual needs.
In many cases, they personally shopped for customers that called ahead and met them in the parking lot, right outside the Florissant Mercantile, to complete their payments.
The COVID invasion accelerated the push for the “Merc” small-town market vision and made the project even more important. The rallying cry increased for the goal of developing a hub for shopping local.
The end result is just the beginning, according to Florissant Mercantile operators. Owners/managers want to say a huge thank you to all their employees, whom they consider family. Everyone has worked incredibly hard and countless hours to work through the transitions, stock and prepare the store for changes. They also want to thank the community. Without the continued support, the expansion would not be possible. They feel if people shop locally, the local businesses can build locally.
With the Florissant Merc, area residents can save time and money while and gaining a big asset they have never enjoyed in the past: a one-stop shopping hub.
One of the main turning points for the project occurred when the owners landed a quality supplier/grocer to meet the community’s needs. Previously, store operators had to obtain many of their products themselves at big box outlets.
The Merc plans to add more items, based on customer needs and requests.
They also plan to combat the current shipping and transportation hurdles, combating retailers on a national level, by doing the best they can in keeping their shelves stocked. Currently shortages are occurring with items, more specifically, with grocery carts and produce bags, but Mercantile operators say they are addressing these issues. They are encouraging feedback from customers and thanking everyone for their patience while they wait for these items to arrive.
For more information about the Florissant Mercantile, call 719-748-8080.