Elsie and I bought the Old Davis Hotel in 1982. At that time it had several small shops. We fixed up the Old Davis Hotel to once again offer sleeping accommodations. At the time, the six rooms offered were the only accommodations in Shipshewana. A large porch was added, rocking chairs became a staple for the men waiting on their wives while they shopped. In 1989 the Davis Mercantile adition was completed and opened retail space to many new shopkeepers. Business thrived. The fire on February 28, 2004 changed things for all of us. Soon after the fire it became evident to our family by the outpouring of letters from friends near, and as far away as Switzerland and New Zealand, how others felt about the Mercantile.
We realized that many people took ownership in the Davis complex. To many, they had lost their stores. When the family gathered together in anticipation of planning a new building, and new gathering place for visitors, Elsie suggested a carousel on the third floor. Since we have 23 grandchildren, and they were involved in the planning stages, they soon agreed that having a carousel would be wonderful (the idea of a slide from the third floor to the lower level was an idea given by Jordan, Heidi's son!!).
Two weeks ago I was on the third floor and had a visitor begin sharing with me about his love for the Old Mercantile, and that it just hadn't been the same coming back to Shipshewana without the Mercantile. He had told his friends that he wasn't even interested in coming into the new building. He was looking for a specific candle and was told that he would find this in the Davis Mercantile. Reluctantly he moved towards the Davis Mercantile thinking "It just won't be the same." Four hours later he had finally made his way to the third floor where I ran into him.
Especially to the many people who had close connections to the old Mercantile, the Miller family welcomes you to come continue your journey with us in the new building. From the bottom of our hearts we sincerely thank you for praying for our family and our tenants through this bump in the road. Thank you for praying my own physical healing while I faced cancer. Thankfully, I have been given a clean bill of health and treasure every day. Thank you for making this journey a bit less painful.