Thursday, September 14, 2023

Evolution of a Dream

Exterior of the Fox Mercantile with a painted mural against a white background.

Ashley and Dino Petrone (@arrowsandbow on Instagram and The Fox Mercantile website) are no strangers to adventure. It all began when they vacationed in Anna Maria Island, Florida, fell in love with it, and purchased a four-suite inn before they went home. Read that story here.  

It wasn’t long after Joie Inn’s completion that Ashley was on the hunt for her next endeavor. This time, she wanted to do something for the community. “I wanted a place for face to face interaction. For people to come as families, to meet friends, read quietly in a corner, and sip on coffee,” said Ashely. 

The Fox Mercantile logo.

While she searched for the right location, Ashley imagined the concept and design then started up an online shop. She named the shop after her youngest daughter, Foxi, and asked older daughter, Quinn, to help her create the logo.  

When Quinn drew a fox head with a small gold crown tilted to one side, The Fox Mercantile was born. It was to be a curated collection of paper goods, homewares, and delicious coffee. In Ashley’s words, “simply a few of my favorite things.” 

Location, Location, Location 

Finding the right location included searching out the place where they could have the greatest impact on the community and something the Petone’s could renovate, of course.  

The right spot was just off the Island in Cortez, Florida. It was a small, tourist-attracting odds and ends shop that needed lots of TLC. It was covered in distressed wood and had a shack-on-the-marina type vibe. But, in true Petrone style, Ashley and Dino saw it in a whole different light. From the porthole windows that were practically buried, to the large space in front of the building that was covered in additional, smaller shacks, there was potential for greatness here. 

View looked out from the front door featuring rope covered pillars.

In the In Between 

The Petrone’s motto is “finding joy in the in between” and it’s behind everything they do. So with a big renovation ahead of them, they decided to get started on a precursor project that would support The Fox Mercantile, La Sal.  

La Sal would be a food-truck-like trailer placed just outside the store that would do coffee only and create an outdoor gathering place. It too was named after daughter, Quinn, who is nicknamed Sal. It was a quick renovation and stepping stone to accomplishing the full project.  

The cheery white and yellow color palette along with a fox motif made this in between space a destination all its own.  

Cast iron style sink behind the coffee counter.

Reimagining the Marina Shack 

All the weathered wood on the outside of the building came down and clean, light brick was added. Extra outbuildings were torn down and the space cleared. The interior was transformed into a comfortable, airy room that was filled with corners for relaxing and rustic-chic shelves for Ashley’s curation of favorite things.  

Porthole window looking out into the coffee shop patio.

The marina vibe is still present with the porthole windows, rope-wrapped pillars, and other nautical details. In fact, a sense of the reclaimed is still there in the undertone of the design with burned wood trim on the front door to a porch light that was found on the side of the road by a social media follower. The entire space feels on-trend but still true to its island roots. 

If you look closely, you’ll see the fox motif spread throughout the entire space, in and out. The wallpaper, light fixtures, floors, and more all give nods to the concept that started the whole thing.  

Close up of sink and faucet in The Fox Mercantile bathroom.

DecorPlanet Fixtures 

The modern yet traditional plumbing fixtures available at DecorPlanet were a perfect fit for The Fox Mercantile. Ashley chose gooseneck faucets in black and brass with separate handles for hot and cold water for a vintage-rustic feel to match the design.  

The sinks are clean and spare but not short of style with their classic styling and simple colors.  

Close up of the bathroom door with pink and white stripes in a brick wall.

As always, the Petrones are “excited to spread joy” with their new space. Beyond that, they are happy to join the local small businesses in the area and support small makers across the world with the selection of products available on their shelves.  

Drop by when you’re in town for their signature Foxi Cold Brew or indulge in a treat with their “For Fox Sake” milkshake. Or maybe you want to get started on a project of your own. Start here.  

Be Inspired