A new business, tourist attraction and point of pride will be opening this weekend in the small community of Stafford when the Stafford Mercantile opens its doors.

A new business, tourist attraction and point of pride will be opening this weekend in the small community of Stafford when the Stafford Mercantile opens its doors.

As Stafford Mercantile moves toward a store opening on Wednesday and then a Grand Opening on Friday and Saturday, the store will be a point of pride for the community of Stafford according to promoter Clare Moore.

As a community owned store, there is pride in the local investment to make the store a reality. It has and is a total community involvement.

Also, Stafford is proud to display many local functional pieces of history that have been brought together to make a wonderful local attraction that will draw interest from far and wide. The soda fountain area includes the 1928 Bastian-Blessings soda fountain and marble counter and countertop originally located down the street in Stafford (Smart Drug, Jamisons, and Elroys II), a 1920s back bar with lighted stained glass side panels that came from a speakeasy located at the Stafford Lake, and oak divider pillars from an 1889 mansion nicknamed the Governor's Mansion originally located ½ mile south of Stafford.

All of these elements have been brought together to create a showcase for Stafford. And local craftsman, Dave Turner, has added some incredibly beautiful artisan work to draw it all together into quite a spectacular display.

"You won't want to miss it" Moore said. "And you won't want to miss the delectable ice cream and soda delights. Not to mention all those amazing memories."

Though the soda fountain area will be quite an attraction, the variety store will provide a much needed source for sundries of all types: Toys, makeup, greeting cards, school supplies, office supplies, ink cartridges, sunglasses, reading glasses, watches, kitchen supplies, small appliances, electronics, cleaning supplies, home goods, rugs, sheets, blankets, men's and women's under apparel, men's Wrangler jeans, storage tubs, potting and garden supplies, seasonal items, candy, popcorn, locally crafted gifts, and Kansas made products and gifts.

Besides catering to local sundry needs, and soda and ice cream needs, the Merc will carry specialty gifts and Kansas made products that will be of interest to both locals and tourists alike. Special orders can be made. Most items will be available for the Grand Opening but a few will be added as their arrival has been delayed."

"Counter stools have been purchased for the soda counter but will be about two weeks before arriving, please be patient," Moore said. "Two of the six counter stools have been donated. One has been donated by the Class of 1957 and one by Elaine Harrison in memory of her husband, Roger."

Anyone wishing to donate items to the store may do so. Some items to be added include a lighted stained glass valance to hang above the fountain that matches the motif of stained glass in the back bar. We would also like to have donations for a flat screen TV. The Merc will offer free wifi for those who come into the store.

"We hope to be seeing kids from 1-99 come in and enjoy the store," Moore said. "We are also looking for any local soda fountain memorabilia people might like to donate."

The Merc is looking for investors. We will entertain investments from $20 to $1000 per person. These investments can be made until September 30, 2013. Please go to www.staffordmercanilteks.com for details. Since this is a community owned store, we hope many from far and wide will want to become a part of this great community effort by investing.

The Grand Opening is scheduled for 9am-9pm on Friday, November 2 and Saturday, Non. 3-4.

Everyone is invited to take in the fun. The store will opening Wednesday and Thursday this week as well and those hours will be 9am-7pm. Come by and get an early preview. A ribbon cutting will be conducted by the Stafford Chamber of Commerce at 11:30am on Friday. Come by and be a part of the festivities.