From Dreams to Reality: threve mercantile
written by Becky Starkey | photography by Dana Laymon
Twelve years ago, when Lisa and Justin Hauenstein walked by 108 Market Street, Lisa felt an immediate connection with the storefront. On Saturday, April 22nd, the couple opened the doors of the same location as Threve Mercantile. You can call it kismet, coincidence, or fate, but for the Hauensteins, opening Threve is a dream come true.
“I’ve been planning this since I was 10 years old,” Lisa says. “Other girls planned for their dream wedding, and I planned for my store.”
When Focus on the Coast first connected with the Hauensteins last year, we featured their gorgeous kitchen remodel, which was a complete DIY project the couple tackled only after renovating their entire house. At that time, Lisa had a booth at Zartiques and was making waves in the Instagram world, but she was working towards a larger goal: opening a store with her family.
“I’ve always known I wanted to do interior design, and I always imagined getting married, having kids, and doing it all together. I know it sounds like I’m making it up, but we’ve talked about it since we got together, and we’ve been together for 17 years! Our goal was always to do it together.”
In fact, threve gets its name from a little family quirk.
“When our son was younger, he couldn’t say the word three, so he called us Threve. I just thought it was the perfect meaningful and memorable name.”
When I ask Lisa how she knew it was the right time to open her own brick and mortar store, she laughs. She recalls admiring the space at 108 Market every time they passed by over the years and explains that she and Justin had only recently decided to take the plunge and move out of Zartiques.
“Justin’s brother had just come visit us and we had spent all day at Jungle Rapids with my son. Then his [Justin’s] brother decided he really wanted to go downtown. I really didn’t want to go, but it was his last night so I was like okay, we’ll go for you. It was Sunday night and the only parking spot open in all of downtown was the one right in front of the store. And by habit I just looked at the store and there was a For Rent sign in the windows and I screamed. It was so crazy.”
She said once they saw the space was available, she and Justin walked to the river to pray about what had just been presented to them. Written on the railing was one of her favorite quotes from One Tree Hill:
“Make a wish and place it in your heart. Anything you want, everything you want. Do you have it? Good. Now believe it can come true. Believe in it with all your heart”
She says that’s when they knew. They placed a phone call the next day but, “the guy didn’t call us back for almost four days,” Lisa said. “We were actually under contract for a different space, and he called us the day we were about to sign on the other one! The timing of everything was amazing.”
Once they made the decision to move forward with their dream location, everything came together quickly.
“I would work until 1 in the morning and then go to bed only to wake up at 4am, like what about this? And I’d be searching again. It was never ending, but it was so much fun. It’s like Christmas.”
And for anyone that loves the vintage feel and boho look, walking into Threve Mercantile will feel like Christmas for you. Working with makers from all around the world, Lisa has carefully selected a collection of new and vintage goods that will easily find a place in anyone’s home.
Threve is filled with rattan chairs, hand stitched Moroccan poofs, hand carved lemon wood spoons, mudcloth pillows, hand sewn indigo Hmong pillow covers from Vietnam and much more.
Smitten with all of the wares and grateful, Lisa is still in awe of how things have come together.
“It’s amazing…It feels surreal, but it feels natural at the same time…When my sister walked in to the store, she was like this is you. And this is us. If we could pour ourselves into something, this is what it would be. And we always said if we’re going to do something, we’re going to go all in and give it the best shot we have. It represents everything. It is us.”
For the Hauensteins, Threve is family. For Wilmington, Threve is a breath of fresh air.