The latest coffee shop in Dallas comes all the way from Atlanta, Georgia. Called The Merchant, it is newly opened at 1924 Greenville Ave., in the former Plum Yoga space next door to Nora Restaurant, where it combines coffee shop with cards and unique gifts.
They offer a full menu of coffee and espresso drinks, using beans only from Stumptown Coffee, the highly-regarded roaster based in Portland, Oregon.
But unlike other coffee shops such as Mudsmith, two blocks down the street on Greenville Avenue, The Merchant's coffee shop isn't even the half of it, says owner Dan Collier.
In fact, the coffee shop is 25 percent, and the gift store part is 75 percent. Everything in the store is for sale, from furniture to decorations to gifts. They're a handy go-to for weddings, birthday parties, or gifting yourself.
"Our real business is that we're a wholesale representative at the Atlanta and Dallas Gift Marts, and we've had a showroom in Dallas for 10 years," Collier says. "About five years ago, we started opening retail stores in Atlanta, and decided to do one in Dallas, too."
They have an extensive selection of greeting cards, planners, and journals; a big baby section; and a large "tabletop" department, including a major stand for Fishs Eddy, the vendor known for its eclectic flatware, dishes, and glasses.
Collier's background is in department stores; he's a former buyer for chains such as Macy's and Federated. "I did that for years, and switched to wholesale where I really got into learning the craft of paper, stationery, planners, and journals," he says.
Forget what you've heard about paper being dead.
"We do a massive amount of paper products," he says. "Greeting cards are huge if you have a good assortment. We support artists who are making lines like Rifle, and Sugar Paper out of Los Angeles, and J Falkner out of Palm Beach, that are little operations who do it differently. And when we replace the cards, it's not the same design, we bring in something new."
The Merchant heeds its coffee shop duties with tables, wifi, and electrical outlets — but its hours reveal its gift-shop heart: Sunday-Thursday from 8 am-7 pm, and Friday-Saturday 8 am-9 pm.