Dawn Hart always loved Ripon.

Long before she and husband Isaac began creating handcrafted decor and functional pieces for home, long before she began running booths at markets, she knew in her heart this was a place she wanted to be.

"I went to Ripon College and graduated from here in 1997. And was drawn to Ripon because of its small size and its sense of community,” she said. “... I immediately loved Ripon.”

Life took her in other directions for a time as she taught children with autism for 10 years.

But, she realized she wanted a vocation in which she could exercise her creativity more while working independently.

“I also loved home decor, loved going to auctions ...,” Hart said. “As I got older and was working and had kids, I thought, ‘Hmm ... I’m kind of good at this, right? This is something that I could do.’”

That decision started her on a path that’s led Hart and her husband, Isaac, to open Hart Mercantile this fall at 206 Watson St.

It’s going to be an expansion of the vintage and home-crafted creations they’ve been creating together for the last seven years — now centralized for the first time in one storefront.

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