Fight to Save a Small Town Iowa Building Launches a Needed, New Business

Evelyn Tierney, (L) and Susan Fulton at the Melrose Merchantile Friday (Roger Riley WHO-HD)

Evelyn Tierney, (L) and Susan Fulton at the Melrose Merchantile Friday (Roger Riley WHO-HD)

MELROSE, Iowa — One woman’s work to save an old building in her hometown has caused a new business to spring up. It’s one sorely needed in the town of Melrose.

Evelyn Tierney has been meeting with Monroe County Development officials to seek a grant to fix up an old bank building in Melrose.

“I went into David Johnson, he’s with the Albia Industrial Development Corporation,” said Tierney. “It’s gambling money that every county who does not have a casino in the county is entitled to some of those funds.”

After requesting the money over several years, the town got a $20,000 grant to fix the old bank building, which is the oldest structure in downtown Melrose.

Then after the building was rebuilt, Tierney was asked what she would do with the building.

“Then Susan came along and she said I’d like to start a little shop in there,” said Tierney. “I needed somewhere to process my honey,” said Susan Fulton, operator of the Melrose Mercantile.  “They started renovating about the time I was retiring the time my husband for sure that with the hive of bees.”

“I needed somewhere to process my honey,” said Susan Fulton, operator of the Melrose Mercantile. “They started renovating about the time I was retiring the time my husband for sure that with the hive of bees.”

Honey alone would not pay all the bills, so Fulton, who is a retired nurse, found herself running a small grocery store. Just the essentials, milk, bread, chips and pop, and some other things, along with some honey.

The Melrose Mercantile opened this summer, and so far it has received a warm reception in Melrose.

Otherwise, people would have to drive to one of three county seat towns, all 15 miles away.