PORT CHARLOTTE — When the Sun Flea Market in Murdock closed at the end of August, vendors scrambled to find a new home.

“We’re now set up at the (Port Charlotte) Town Center mall,” Tom Merkle said.

He, along with his wife, Marge, makes and sells hand-stitched gift items, plus animal plaques and coasters.

As vendors at the Sun Flea Market for many years, the Merkles in August were sad that the flea market was closing, but wanted to continue selling their homemade items.

Now that they have a new location, and the Merkles aren’t alone. There are 11 others who have joined them — most also sold at Sun Flea Market.

The dozen vendors are now sharing retail space in the former Charlotte Russe women’s clothing store, across from Old Navy.

The store has a new name.

“We’re being called Charlotte Mercantile,” Merkle said, adding a sign will be placed across the storefront.

The vendors moved in mid-September. Already former customers have found them but a grand opening will be Oct. 16, Merkle said.

John Scherlacher, director of marketing for the Port Charlotte Town Center mall, said Charlotte Mercantile “is a pretty cool-looking store.”

He praised its layout, saying vendors’ wares “are displayed nicely and organized.”

Merkle said the vendors offer a diverse array of merchandise for just about everyone. Among items being sold are unique gifts including jewelry; women’s apparel; tactical gear including pepper spray, knives, and stun guns; silk flowers; crafts; and nautical and coastal wares.

“Snacks will be served at October’s grand opening,” Merkle said, and he invited the public to drop in anytime to see the mall’s new store and the vendors’ new “home.”

Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday for Charlotte Mercantile.


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