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Millcreek Journal

Sustainability and style on display at Millcreek Mercantile

May 30, 2022 04:35PM ● By Deb Schoenberg Hafner

By Deb Schoenberg Hafner | [email protected]

One might keep walking by the unassuming facade of Millcreek Mercantile, a curated vintage decor and home essentials store in the heart of Millcreek, until they pass the window and glance inside.

Inside the shop, located at 881 E. 3900 South, many treasures await. There’s a secret attic to explore and tables adorned with colored glass jars, candelabras, copper utensils and patterned blue and white china to look over. There’s also furniture, salvaged doors, repurposed farm equipment and a 3-foot-tall red antique metal drink cooler that still works.

With the sustainability trend on the rise during the pandemic, antique and vintage stores have seen an uptick in business. Upon entering the small, concrete masonry store, you can expect to meet Melanie Sleight, the proprietor, and her dog, Chloe, busily unpacking items and moving inventory to replace sold items. 

Sleight has a degree in business/interior design, and fell in love with the vintage salvage business growing up on a farm in Layton where she learned from her father to “waste not want not,” and to appreciate the value of repurposing and using what was available.

After working for George’s Salvage in Salt Lake City for seven years, Sleight decided it was time to venture out on her own, and Millcreek Mercantile was launched. “I think home decor should be affordable for people,” Sleight said. “And I love when pieces are salvaged and put back into historical homes.”

Young people with ecoconscious values have become a prized new market for sellers of antiques and collectibles at estate sales, stores and online, according to a 2021 article in the LATimes. “If there is a bathroom remodel underway, consider a vintage mirror instead of a big box store-bought one,” Sleight said.

“I would steer people away from trends to the classic pieces that will last longer,” Sleight said. “But they will also be unique. No one else will have these items in their homes, they are one of a kind.”

A study commissioned by the International Antiques and Collectors Fairs found that the carbon footprint of a modern chest of drawers is 16 times higher than that of its antique equivalent. “When you have options people need to think about what is already made and available and plan for their space in order to offset their carbon footprint,” Sleight said.

As for what makes antiques work, Sleight says to think about the things you enjoyed as a child, and at some point in the future, a new generation is going to be excited about those items.

Sleight has been collecting antiques for over 20 years, many of which are for sale in her store. “There are many cookie-cutter homes in Utah, and if you can find something unique, it will really set your home apart,” Sleight said. Sleight also sells new items, such as baskets and throw blankets, that are locally sourced and sustainably made.

Vintage and antique items cost less, are better quality, are available immediately, will last longer and add uniqueness and style to a home, according to Sleight. And with sustainability rising to the top of the priority list for consumers of all ages, a stop at the secret attic that is Millcreek Mercantile is a must.