Dignitaries: Mercantile's reopening marks return to local traditions


Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce President Dennis Mitchell presents a membership plaque to North Okaloosa Heritage Association members Jerry Champion and Phyllis Enzor during Friday's ribbon cutting ceremony at the newly reopened Baker Mercantile.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 02:26 PM.

BAKER — Once again, folks gather on the Baker Block front porch to exchange pleasantries and examine wares offered in the Baker Mercantile, just as residents did nearly a century ago.

Community, civic and business leaders joined north county residents on Friday for the store's reopening. The Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome the store back to the business community.

The Mercantile, once the central place to shop in Baker, had been closed since the 1990s. It was reopened by the North Okaloosa Heritage Association, which operates the Baker Block Museum next to the store.

"This has been a dream come true for the (association's) board of directors," board member Phyllis Enzor, a driving force in the store's reopening, said.

Jeanette Henderson, the Baker Block Museum's former director, said seeing all the people once more thronging the site of the original Baker Mercantile "brings back a lot of memories."

"The Baker Mercantile was a cornerstone of the community of Baker," Sen. Greg Evers said, praising the association for "reinstating some of the old-time ideals."

Speakers including Helen Hunt Rigdon, representing Congressman Jeff Miller, lauded the store's reopening as a reaffirmation of area traditions and values.

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