Chad, you have a great story about your mom and this business. Can you tell us how Mulberry Mill was created? When I first met you guys, you were at Victorian Village and now your family run business has been at Grand Village for 11 years! Your mother was such an inspiration to all of us. How did she develop the flavor for what we now know as Mulberry Mill?
She always liked fashion. She always liked design. She had an eye for things without knowing that was design. She knew what she liked and this gave her an outlet to put that all together. She and Chad started it together. – Therese
One weekend, we came down to rent a craft booth. I was in college and Mom had just sold out to her partner at the flower shop. She had gone back to school and didn’t know what she was going to do. She even talked about being a doctor at one point. So, we decided for some extra money, we would rent a craft booth at Apple Tree Mall. I was going to cut some stuff out of wood and she was going to paint it. So we came down to Branson, set up the booth, and when we were leaving town, we drove by a new place in town, the Victorian Village. We drove up and around to see what was there and met a man named, Jerry Crawford. He came out one of the doors and he stopped us. It was early March, so most things weren’t even going yet. He thought we were looking for a certain store in there -Chad
“are you looking for someone in there?”, he asked. “If so, I will find them.”
No, I said, we just hadn’t seen this building yet, and we are just driving around.
“Well, what brought you to town?”, Jerry asked. We just opened a craft booth. “What you ought to do, is, instead of opening a booth, you ought to open a whole store. I’ve got some spots down here. Let me show you one.”
“No, we are just doing the craft booth.”
“What’s it gonna hurt? I’ve got the key here, you’ll go down and take a look at it. You don’t have to tell me yay, nay or anything. Just look at this spot”, said Jerry.
“So, we agreed and went down to look at the spot, because he was so persistent. On the way home, we thought, we could do that. So, the next morning, we called Jerry and said Ok, we’ll take that spot.”
He said, “I knew you were going to take that spot.” (Laughing)
And it’s evolved over the years. When I first visited your store, you just had lots of dishes and lots of samples and a bit of home decor things. Now you have evolved and have clothing and so much more. You really have something for everyone.
“It started out with Lighthouses and Croaky Frogs.” – Therese
“They used part of Chad’s college money to buy the first inventory. Hey Mom, here’s my college money. I’d rather do this. And…the first inventory was like these little lighthouses and these frogs that sat on the counter and everyone would push them and they would croak and go crazy. They also carried jewelry and stared in 1000 sq feet. Then it got to be more collectibles because at that time everyone wanted precious moments, collectibles, that kind of thing.”
You guys always seem like you are a step ahead. You’ve got quite a following in the gourmet food industry. What is your best seller?
“They change with the seasons. We used to sell lemon curd – we were the biggest sellers of lemon curd in the US. We had these companies calling from England asking how we were selling so much lemon curd in the middle of Missouri? We just did. Then it was Pecan Pepper Jelly. Now it’s Salted Caramel Cocoa. The company that makes the cocoa is actually doing an International article on us, because we can sell so much Salted Caramel Cocoa.” – Therese
Does your Dad still work in the shop?
Yes, every day. – Chad
So you can always see someone from the Mulberry Mill family at the store all the time. Do you think your son will ever run the business?
I don’t think so. (chuckle) – Chad.
I hope not. I hope he finds his own path. – Therese
Give us a Teaser for the Holidays. What can shoppers expect when they visit your store this Christmas season?
“This year we have a couple of different looks. One is the chalkboard look which will include traditional colors of red, green, and black. Then, there is this funky kind of retro Vespa trailers and this nostalgic collection of Christmas. And, as always, we will sell snowmen like crazy.” – Therese
“And of course all the foods for the parties.” – Chad
Do you put together gift baskets?
“Yes, we do gift baskets. Even small buckets of things. For instance, if an office manager calls and says, “I have 8 people in my office, can you make something little for each?” We can do that too.” – Therese