15662 Rankin Ave., Dunlap, Tn. 37327

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(423) 949-2552

Hours
T/F/S 10-6 & Sun 12-5

The Dunlap Mercantile was built in 1894.

It is the oldest commercial building in historic downtown Dunlap, Tennessee, nestled in the heart of beautiful Sequatchie Valley. After a devastating fire at the turn of the century, the ravaged building was bought in bankruptcy court in 1906. The Mercantile was restored, then owned and operated by the same family for the next eighty years. It closed in the early 1980s and has remained vacant and untouched since.

The Dunlap Mercantile was a general store providing families near and far with everything from flour to shoes, and everyone knew and loved the proprietor, Mr. Payne. Those of us who grew up in the Valley fondly remember the creaky floors and candy jars. In a labor of love, locals Lewie and Becky Card decided to return the Mercantile to its original grandeur.

“The project began with a strong conviction. God told us to give this building another chance. A crew was formed and demolition began. Each member brought talents and skills. It wasn’t just a job, it was a passion. The men and women restoring the Mercantile are true artisans with God-given talents. Just like the building, we are a group of second chances, by God’s transforming grace. He doesn’t make mistakes and there are no coincidences. We started with a crew, we became a team, and ended a family. Lewie and I are forever grateful.” ~Becky Card

This couple is restoring buildings, revitalizing downtown Dunlap

Mark Kennedy at [email protected]

Dunlap, Tennessee, is a case in point. With about 4,800 souls, the Sequatchie County seat — a bustling coal-mining town in the early 20th century — is about as populous a medium-sized liberal arts college.

Like many of Tennessee’s hundreds of smaller cities and towns, Dunlap’s downtown district lost foot traffic during the last half-century.

“Of the 30 (commercial) buildings, 17 were empty,” said Lewis Card, Jr., a retired Chattanooga industrialist and … read more

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