C & R Mercantile Will Take You Back in Time With An Eclectic Mix of Bygone Era Novelties

Images of Grandma and her friends sitting on the front porch    sipping tea will easily come to mind
Step into C & R Mercantile at 165 SW 3rd Street in Hermiston and you will find yourself stepping into a time capsule of sorts, one filled with items from a bygone era, such as Corning Ware and Watkins. Images of grandma and her friends sitting on the front porch sipping tea will easily come to mind as you meander through the vintage gift shop owned and created by Cynthia Traner.
Upon meeting Traner it will be hard for you to believe this gentle, delightful woman was once a corrections officer.
“I was firm, I was fair and I held them accountable,” said Traner about her seven year stint with some of society’s roughest citizens. Her gentle spirit no doubt gave them hope of a better life beyond the bars they saw on a daily basis.
I must say, after visiting with Cynthia for an afternoon, I am positive C & R Mercantile suits her much better than life as a corrections officer would, not that I doubt she was anything less than kind and compassionate to the inmates she saw daily, but C & R Mercantile is a reflection of who she is from the inside out. This place has her signature all over it. From the shelf hanging on the wall that she created from a bed frame, to the counter she made out of old wood-framed windows.
C & R Mercantile did not come easily however. It took some time transforming the 1948 Quonset hut into the quaint gift shop it is today. After finding, and falling in love with the rag-tag old building in April of 2010, Cynthia completely gutted the inside. With the help of her husband, who owns Traner Heating and Plumbing, a contractor friend, and Fred Carlson Electric, they slowly began making progress on the transformation of the rundown Quonset hut. The Quonset hut was originally built to be a laundry mat. According to Traner, it was bought and ran by Nan Reeves and her husband. In the mid 70’s it was a TV and Radio repair shop. It has also been a U-Haul rental place and a beauty salon. Today, I guarantee it is more charming than it was on the first day it was built back in 1949. It is well worth the visit just to see how well this old Quonset hut has taken on and embraced its new life as Cynthia Traner’s Mercantile.
“This place speaks to my heart,” said Traner. “Surrounded by sweet memories of my childhood, and of being raised by my grandmother, who was born in 1920, it is like a personal tribute to her and all the folks from that era. The stories that are shard from customers with me by folks my grandmothers age, is like having part of Grandma here. She has only seen the shop from heaven.”
Traner has also created a small corner garden outside of her gift shop as a tribute to her grandmother.
Inside the gift shop you will find Corning Ware, Watkins, aprons, vintage patterns, teapots, teacups, doilies, delicate handkerchiefs, hat pins, antique hat stands and vintage baby clothes. All of this and more are all a part of the eclectic mix of wares that are available at C & R Mercantile.
Sharing with other women about her creative vision and passions Traner inspires her customers to look at things in a new way.
“I’m kind of like a ‘live’ Pinterest person,” she said. “Many of my customers leave here feeling inspired and knowing they can create something pretty to enjoy in their own home.”
In addition to the mercantile, Traner has big plans for the area beside the Quonset hut. The Growers Marketplace will be an outlet for people to sell their homemade goods. Space will be available on a day-to-day basis. Traner will also be adding History Reclaimed Architectural Salvage in the near future.
One cannot help but be affected by her infectious optimism, her zest for life and her hope for the future.
“When I leave my shop I reflect on how blessed I am by the new friends made that day,” said Traner, “new relations within the community, and reassurance that God is in control and has his perfect plan for me. I start my day with prayer and praise, and end with being thankful.”