FRANKLIN, Ind. — Coming from a 6th generation farming family, Tracey Bohler knows a thing or two about “farmhouse chic.”
She grew up watching “Little House on the Prairie” and says it was characters Nellie Oleson, Mrs. Oleson and the Oleson Mercantile that she loved so much that she used it as inspiration when she opened her own shop, called Farm Girl Mercantile in Franklin.
Move over Chip and Joanna Gaines, because we’re headed to Johnson County for some local farmhouse style on this trip In Your Neighborhood.
“I grew up in an 1882 farmhouse and it was filled with antiques from the previous owner,“ said Tracey Bohler. “So, from a little girl on up, I just had a fascination with history and owning my own shop one day.”
In September of 2017, Bohler brought her dream to life by opening Farm Girl Mercantile inside an old house that dates back to 1930.
“[People] just come in and are like, ‘Oh this place is so cute! And it’s so charming.’ And they love the trim work and the transom windows, the floors… everyone loves the floors,” she said. “It’s just something special about shopping for antiques in an old home.”
And antiques are just the start.
“When you walk in, we want to override all your senses,” she added. “It’s just a nostalgic feeling. People feel like they’re stepping back in time a little bit, like the old-fashioned general store.”
The shop carries everything from boutique fashion from small to plus size, Tennessee peanuts, furniture, lots of decorative signs with often-humorous sayings, as well as what she calls a “salvage sidewalk” full of décor made from repurposed items.
“The old windows, the chippy doors, the painted-up ladders,” Bohler noted. “I mean, things that grandma and grandpa would have thrown out years ago sell like crazy. People are putting them in their brand-new homes to give their homes charm.”
The shop also showcases other local vendors, like Bargersville-based Emily Stewart, also known as “Dirt Darlin,” who makes just about every kind of sauce, butter, jam or salsa you could imagine.
And that’s just the beginning.
“We have Cause Candles, which are local candles made by my friend and neighbor and 10% goes to local charity,” she said. “We have locally made jewelry, arts and crafts, furniture. Just a little bit of everything.”
All of her hand-picked local vendors have one thing in common.
“I think we’re all women in here. All these women have their own little businesses within my business so it’s definitely women supporting women here,” she said.
Bohler and her vendors consider themselves to be a kind of sorority and– having been alongside her since day one of the shop’s opening– she says she considers them to be family.
It’s the sort of feeling that makes her excited to come to work each day.
“Most people can’t say that, but I do,” she said. “This is my happy place. And I’ve made so many amazing friends that started off as customers and now they’re just girlfriends.”
Four Things You Need to Know About Farm Girl Mercantile:
- In 2017, Tracey Bohler opened Farm Girl at 436 E. Jefferson Street in Franklin. The shop is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- The shop offers a little bit of everything: antiques, boutique fashions, food items, furniture and interior décor like signs. “I love my signs. I love it when people come in here and smile and laugh. We have things that are kind of humorous like, ‘I really need a day between Saturday and Sunday,” she said. “It just adds a little bit of humor, a little bit of whimsy.”
- As a local business owner herself, she wanted to help highlight other local female entrepreneurs by carrying items like locally made salsas, jellies, jams and butters by Bargersville-based Emily Stewart (also known as Dirt Darlin’), Cause Candles by Mama Bear Blue, locally made jewelry by area artisans and more.
- Aside from all the great shopping, Bohler says the boutique also hosts workshop classes about twice a month, where attendees can enjoy some wine and appetizers as one of the local vendors walks them through some simple DIY crafts. “One of my favorites was decoupaging canvas shoes with napkins,” she recalled. “We’ve done like transfers on flowerpots. We’ve done clay molds [and] pumpkins in the fall.”
For more information about Farm Girl Mercantile, you can connect with the shop on social media via Facebook and Instagram. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out the store’s Yelp page.
While in Franklin, check out these other popular local businesses: