The Mercantile, a family business housed in a historic building in downtown Pendleton, SC, has joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Connie Earl opened The Mercantile at 149 East Queen Street in 1988. The Mercantile was Earl’s dream. She and her husband were in the area while he was on sabbatical and she fell in love with Pendleton upon her first visit. After they returned home (Alfred, NY), she had a dream one night that she had opened a gift shop in Pendleton. When her husband retired, they moved to Pendleton and worked to make her dream a reality. The Mercantile is a gift store with something for most everyone, including old-fashioned candy, candles, toys and creative supplies and classes.
Spearheaded by Earl’s daughters, the family decided to sponsor the quilt in her memory. Earl loved pink dogwood, so the family chose to have the flowers featured on a dimensional curved piecing technique developed by Annette Ornelas of Southwind Designs. One of Earl’s daughters, Susan Earl Congdon, who resides in Aiken, SC, completed the cloth quilt in 2014.
Congdon has fond childhood memories of learning to sew in the 4H Club, which led to her learning more sewing techniques through magazines, local classes, state retreats, and quilt shows. After choosing the pink dogwood design, she found a pink ribbon batik that features the words “Hope” and “Love.” According to Congdon, this fabric is in two of the three blossoms as a fitting memorial to a mother “who shared with us her hope and love.
Her daughters recall that their mother was supportive of all 6 of her children (4 girls & 2 boys) in their endeavors. This meant sometimes attending sporting events or band/choral concerts, helping them make their own Valentines cards and Easter baskets and much, much more. As a member of the community, she was also very supportive. She was warm and welcoming, greeted everyone with a smile and treated customers that entered the store as if they were guests in her home. She was very active in her breast cancer support group (1 in 8 in Anderson) and often people came to her to share about their journey. Even when in Hospice, she reached out to someone else who was battling cancer and sent them a message that she was praying for them.
The Mercantile web site is (www.TheMercantileStore.com) and they are also on facebook.
Additional information about the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail can be found on the web site at (www.uhqt.org).