The Merchant: something for everyone

Michelle Boltz

When The Merchant opened its doors in Downtown Topeka February 2009, it was owner Lisa Boyd’s first business in retail.

Boyd has had a wallpaper business for the past 22 years. She does both residential and commercial work as well.

She also paints, does faux finishing and uses a backsplash technique for making a tile effect.

“It is very easy and is economical for change,” said Boyd.

The Merchant offers both new and gently used merchandise such as clothing, jewelry, handbags, shoes and home furnishings. Boyd attends auctions and estate sales, and buys from a local clientele base she established since opening the store.  In addition, Boyd buys earrings from Peru, and skirts, handbags and clothing from India. Anything unusual or international tend to be the more popular items. She believes in providing the best price. Donations are welcome, but The Merchant does not do consignment.

“Before you donate items somewhere else, let me look at it first,” said Boyd.

What sets The Merchant apart from other retail businesses is the support of local art and its prices. Placed throughout the store are uniquely designed mannequins, draped in clothing and jewelry available for sale, and gift baskets designed unique gift ideas. What is also distinctive is its selection. One can never know what The Merchant has to offer until they come inside.

The Merchant was a big part of Top City Thursdays, which started in the summer of 2010. Top City Thursdays will start as early as St. Patrick’s Day, during and after the parade downtown. They stay open until 8 p.m., and provide entertainment from local musicians. Other plans are in the works for this year.

“It’s all about supporting local businesses and downtown,” said Boyd.

They are also part of the First Friday Artwalk.

For the month of February, The Merchant has a number of specials going on. There are green dots on selected items of clothing for only 99 cents. Feb. 10 and 11, all handbags will be at a 30 percent discount. Merchant employee Brittney Miller will offer to do contour drawings, and will paint them. For a donation, customers can pick them back up in March and take them home. Donations for the paintings will go to the renovations of the Jayhawk Theatre.

The Merchant is located in Downtown Topeka at 728 S. Kansas Avenue. They are open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays until 6 p.m. (until 8 p.m. after St. Patrick’s Day), and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Merchant also has a fanpage on Facebook, where specials and store updates are posted. For additional information, call (785) 357-1444.