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FOCUS 2018: Mercantile on Main eyes completion of depot renovation, growth on Main St.

What is believed to be an old railroad resting station at Mercantile on Main nears the completion of its renovation. (By Justin Kenny of news-sentinel.com)
Detail of the exterior of the railroad depot at Mercantile on Main on W. Main St. in Fort Wayne. (By Justin Kenny of news-sentinel.com)

If Pam Michel has learned anything over the years, it is to not set a timetable to complete projects.

When Pam and her husband Bob Michel, owners of Mercantile on Main at 1753 W Main St., acquired what is to believed to be an old train depot from ARCH in 2012, they hoped a full restoration would only take a few years.

But life tends to get in the way sometimes. While the depot is looking much better since its arrival next to Mercantile on Main a few years ago, there is still much to do.

“It’s like 85 percent there,” Pam said. “Unfortunately, other stuff gets in the way. We have this (depot), the house (that the business is in), we live in a house…so many projects.

The plan is to house large furniture and architecture in the depot once it is completed. Problem is, it isn’t altogether empty.

“It’s already full of junk,” said Pam with a laugh. “When you’re in the business, you find anywhere you can to store things.”

The expansion (official completion: TBA) of Mercantile on Main is continuing the momentum of W. Main St. as it looks to revitalization. Junk Ditch Brewing Company has had considerable success, carving itself into the growing niche of Fort Wayne beer makers. CrossFit260 just recently opened a few blocks away near Pedal City, while the old Outlaws motorcycle group clubhouse continues to be transformed into what is believed to eventually be a yoga studio.

As the center of downtown continues its resurgence, the boundary areas within the Downtown Improvement District are also changing. Broadway continues to see a transformation with new tenants such as the 07 Club, not to mention the planned Electric Works project.

“The seeds are here, it’s going to go, it’s just not there yet,” said Pam about W. Main St. “There has been some investment, but it’s been slow.”

As for Mercantile on Main, it continues to be a success. During the winter, the business did extensive lighting renovation work for St. Peter & Paul Church in Huntington, focusing on the rectory.

Other projects will surely come up as summer arrives, the height of the fix-it and home decor season.

And who knows, maybe the depot will soon be declared finished.

“At a glance, it looks great, but it’s not done yet,” Pam said.

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