Iconic Landmark Retail Store
Business For Sale
SOLON SPRINGS MERCANTILE
18 Years with current owners
Owners planning retirement
Seller financing available
Diverse inventory and a wide range of customers
18,000 Sq Ft Building
Built in 2005
Type of Business
RETAIL HARDWARE, SPORTING & LIQUOR
Solon Springs Mercantile (www.solonmercantile.com) is a diverse retail store – incorporating hardware, sporting goods, gifts, and liquor. Located in Solon Springs, Wisconsin – 35 miles southeast of Duluth, Minnesota – the store serves both full time residents and seasonal residents who travel to the area to recreate.
The current owners purchased the community’s existing hardware store in 2002. They opened Solon Springs Mercantile in April 2005 almost a year after their first store was destroyed by fire. The store has evolved over time – adding merchandise to meet the needs of the area’s customers and sales have grown steadily. The store has 15 departments.
WHO WE SERVE
Solon Springs Mercantile is located on U.S. Highway 53 in Solon Springs, Wisconsin – a rural community of 1,500. Larger communities within an hour drive are: Duluth/Superior (35 miles), Hayward (40 miles) or Rice Lake (60 miles).
The established trade area for Solon Mercantile covers a 20-mile radius from the store. Census data shows that this area has a population of about 7,500 residents in 3,400 households. However, the store attracts a significant percentage of its customers from seasonal residents who own recreational homes in trade area and this is an important customer segment for this business.
Solon Springs Mercantile uses the term “Northwoods Lifestyle Store” in its marketing. The store stocks a wide array of merchandise encompassing over 55,000 different SKUs in fifteen different departments – from housewares to sporting goods, plumbing to liquor. It’s likely there’s not another store exactly like it anywhere – in larger communities it might be three or four different businesses. In rural, northern Wisconsin’s "vacationland" the combination of hardware, sporting goods and liquor store works. Over 20% of annual sales is in the sporting goods area – with a focus on hunting and fishing. The store’s product mix appeals to the outdoor lifestyle of most Mercantile customers and the diverse inventory offers the benefit of one-stop shopping; saving customers time.
Sales & Staff
GET TO KNOW US
The store maintains more than 60,000 individual transactions each year – with an average transaction size in excess of $26.00. The store’s stable sales is a function of inventory diversity combined with a focus on customer experience. Many departments are need based – hardware, paint, plumbing and electrical. Other purchases at Solon Mercantile are purely spontaneous – liquor, consumables, gifts and sporting goods. Green goods and Stihl attract customers from beyond the boundaries of the store’s trade area.
Solon Springs Mercantile is open 8am – 6pm, seven-days-a-week, all year long. While the store experiences seasonality because of the quantity of vacation homes in the area, the consistency of regular hours throughout the year keeps customers coming back because they can count on hours and service at the store. The store’s employees are cross trained across departments and functions. Of the 17 people on the store’s payroll, 9 have more than 4 years of service with the company, and 5 have more than 8 years.
When a Minneapolis-based business magazine published a profile of the store, they titled it “Bolts, Booze and Bullets.” It wasn’t a headline we initially embraced – however the quirkiness of our store and its diverse inventory are draws. Our Twin Cities based customers still chuckle about the alliterative descriptor of the Mercantile.
Hardware is an established industry, but if stores become stagnant, they cannot thrive. It was an honor to appear in the May 2019 issue of North American Hardware Retailing. The industry publication was highlighting stores that had broken with industry tradition and added new and unusual niches to their products to better serve their communities and remain relevant.
It is humbling to be referred to as a community pillar or vital area business. We’ve had our share of growing pains and challenges. Looking back, the fire that gutted Solon Springs Hardware was the catalyst that lead to the creation of Solon Springs Mercantile. That terrible experience helped us define our customer focus and launch forward with a community-centric establishment.
The Woman Today
18,000 Square Feet
Solon Springs Mercantile is located in an 18,000 square foot building (built 2005) situated on 9 acres in the Village of Solon Springs. The building features a main merchandise area of 12,800 sq. ft. and 800 sq. ft of office space. Additionally, a glass atrium (with automatic climate controls) offers another 3,000 sq. ft. of merchandising area. The building also includes a 1,300 sq. ft. stock room, with loading dock. The building has a generous amount of outside merchandising space, much of it covered by a protective awning. The store’s parking area is paved and has space for over 30 vehicles.
The business’ building and parking lot are situated on the south end of a 9 acre parcel – much of which remains undeveloped. The entire parcel borders US Highway 53 - the main thoroughfare between Superior and Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation measures and reports daily traffic counts for the four-lane highway. In 2017 the combined daily traffic count for the south and north bound lanes was 12,100. The parcel in situated in a designated business park which is part of a TIF (tax-increment financing) district. The Mercantile and all the businesses in the business park are served by three-phase electric power, natural gas, public sewer and a private wells. The parcel offers opportunities for development of additional businesses.
An Amazing Location
Solon Springs is located in the heart of northern Wisconsin "vacationland;" opportunities for outdoor recreation abound. From hunting and fishing to birding and biking, there are ample options for year-around activities. Douglas County has vast tracts of public lands connected by networks of hiking, ATV, and snowmobile trails as well as lakes, rivers and streams. Solon Springs is situated at the headwaters of two historic rivers: the St. Croix, a National Scenic Riverway that flows south forming much of the border with Minnesota, and the Brule, a world renown trout fishery that flows north to Lake Superior. Our seasons are distinct and welcoming – it is quickly apparent why visitors flock to the area, and many commuters to the Duluth metro have chosen to call Solon Springs home.
This sale includes everything a buyer needs to operate a busy retail store: fixtures, inventory, building, real estate, even documented processes! We know that every buyer is different, and this offering may provide options for you to merge an existing business or create an entirely new one. We are open to different purchase scenarios as well as some seller financing.
WANT MORE INFORMATION?
If you’d like to know more about this business opportunity, just download and complete our non-disclosure agreement. Please return a signed copy of the NDA with a recent (90 days or less) personal financial statement. Upon receipt of your information packet, we will contact you with the password to the protected area of this site – giving you access to the business planning and financial documents you'll need to fully assess this opportunity. If you’d like to talk with us first, please use the contact information at the bottom of this page to begin the conversation.