The owners of Downtown’s Wolf & Cub, are opening a pop up storefront through the Holiday season at 211 North Laura Street, in the space formerly occupied by La Cena restaurant- which has sat empty for over two years.
The pop up store is called Duval Mercantile, and the store’s premise will be to give Jacksonville makers a brick and mortar space to showcase and sell their goods. “Jacksonville has so many amazing small businesses and they should not only be celebrated, but also accessible to the public,” explains Duval Mercantile’s Emily Rosete. “Duval Mercantile is a store where these entrepreneurs have a place to serve up all things Duval. We want to be a one stop shop for the best independently made products in.Jacksonville. We have almost a dozen vendors committed to the project and are talking to some great companies that I don’t want to mention just yet but are very interested.”
Wolf & Cub started in 2014 as a transient merchant, selling a curated selection of vintage goods and original clothing, jewelry and artwork at markets like Jaxsons Night Market and Art Walk. Emily and Varick Rosete went on to open a pop up version of their concept during the Holiday season in 2015 at Brooklyn Station on Riverside, in the Brooklyn neighborhood. After the success of that experience, the couple opened a permanent storefront along Laura Street in the heart of downtown in 2016. Their new concept, Duval Mercantile, will be located two doors down from Wolf & Cub in the historic Elks Building. As Varick puts it, “We want both concepts to inspire people. For Wolf & Cub, we stock independent and interesting products from all over the world and with Duval Mercantile our goal is to only carry Jacksonville produced merchandise to inspire people everywhere!”
Wolf & Cub opened a permanent storefront on Laura Street in 2016 within the historic Elks Club Building. Downtown has struggled to attract the kinds of specialty retailing concepts found in Riverside and San Marco, therefore the Rosetes’ continued investment is notable. The 28,400-square-foot, two-story Elks Building originally opened in 1926. In 2016, a Los Angeles-based investor purchased the building. Prime Realty handles tenant curation for the property, which also includes street-level retailers such as Mocha Misk’i Brownie Shop and Bark Downtown.
“Let’s be real, Downtown needs more retail,” says Emily. “Since there is minimal support or incentive for small independent retailers to move Downtown we have partnered with Prime Realty and Weaver Property Management to make this pop-up happen. I think I can speak for all parties involved in saying we are passionate about helping build the culture of the neighborhood by offering cool retail concepts. If this works, we would love to continue building with a few others, so we have goals!”
A serial creative entrepreneur, Emily formerly owned and operated the fashion boutique Anomaly in Five Points as well as the Downtown live music venue Underbelly. While many people become notable for having opinions on how to make Downtown more vibrant, Emily and Varick are part of a small group of pioneers who take risks and actually open the types of places that make the neighborhood an interesting place to live, work and play.
The Park Arcade Building in Five Points originally opened as Jacksonville’s first indoor mini-golf course. In the late 1980’s through the turn of the century, the commercial district was known as a funky bohemian shopping destination with retailers like Anomaly. Five Points has followed market trends and has since evolved into a more food-focused, entertainment destination.
Duval Mercantile will host its grand opening during Artwalk on Wednesday, November 7th and will be open through December. The store will be open Tuesday through Friday from 12pm to 5pm and Saturdays from 12pm until 4pm. For more information follow them on Instagram @duvalmercantile and on their (coming soon) website duvalmercantile.com.