by Tara Bell
A new light shines at the old J.P. Tabler Dry Goods and Notions building, and it’s bright and beautiful. Located on German Street in Shepherdstown, the 1770 structure has turned into the loving vision of Rose Mendez and business partner Todd Cottgreaves who manage The Artist’s Confluence and Mercantile. The massive old counters remain, buffed and waxed, the white tin ceiling gleams above paintings, quilts, hand-forged work, felt flowers, designer hats, furniture, rustic pots, and inventive art. As Rose showed us around the place, you could tell she had an investment in each artisan represented there.
Artists have been reinventing themselves because of Covid 19 and Rose has been no exception. After going from twenty-four shows in 2019 to zero in 2020 she lost the reins of her driven art business. Home schooling became her major focus, and with her husband, Gregg, not traveling for work, had to transition into a new life. Rose’s jewelry languished for a while. Then, slowly but surely, Rose allowed a new passion to surface: her love of refurbishing furniture and sewing vintage textiles. Don’t worry, she still makes her beautiful jewelry.
In the summer of 2021 there was another turning point for Rose when she set up a show with some art friends at Evolve, a pop-up venue in Shepherdstown. There she displayed and sold her new furniture along with her hand-forged jewelry. It was an instant move in another direction and Rose was rejuvenated. So When Todd called to suggest they open a business together in one of Rose’s favorite buildings in Shepherdstown, she saw a door open wide.
“There is a huge amount of talent in our area,” says Rose. To begin with she knows so many artists and artisans, all she had to do was invite them to consign in the new store. Rose also encourages young and new artists and makers to show and sell their creations. Giving them a taste of entrepreneurship.
“I lost some wonderful mentors during the Pandemic,” Rose told us. “It is a time in my life that I become one for others.”
In November, Rose and Todd dived into the crazy work of getting the store ready for the holiday season where shoppers were eager to see the new and unusual wares in this gem of a store. It was a busy time!
Rose is eager to make Artist's Confluence and Mercantile a community place for meetings, workshops and a place for artists to network. There is a room in the back for these type of activities and she was already talking about teaching a class on how to make mini terrariums! She has her head full of ideas for the place. “I love this building” Rose said looking up as if to the very rafters. I had this surreal and warm feeling, as we stood there together, that the building was loving her right back!
OPEN: Thursday, Friday 11-5
Saturday 11-6 and Sunday 11-4 Look for extended hours in the Spring.