| November 2012
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By Karen Topakian
Store Trek is a regular Voice feature profiling new businesses in Noe Valley. This month, we introduce a clothing boutique that is the female counterpart to the Eureka Valley men’s store Unionmade.
3751 24th St. at Chattanooga Street
When women shoppers at the Sanchez Street menswear store Unionmade asked for a store that would offer them the same high-quality clothing as the men enjoyed, owners Todd Barket and Carl Chiara listened. In late August, almost three years after they launched Unionmade, the pair opened Mill Mercantile for women, in the former home of J&J Grocery at 3751 24th St.
As its name suggests, Mill shares Unionmade’s emphasis on classic style and sturdy craftsmanship. Though cut for women, many of the store’s oxford-cloth shirts, cableknit sweaters, and jean jackets are gender-neutral and timeless in design.
As at Unionmade, customers can find Raleigh Denim’s selvage jeans from North Carolina ($225-$265), Anonymousism’s patterned socks from Japan ($22-$35), Barbour’s quilted jackets from the UK ($299-$449), Howlin’ by Morrison’s lamb’s wool pullovers and cardigans from Scotland ($160-$212), and striped cotton tees inspired by the “Breton seaman’s sweater” from Breton, France ($90-$130).
There is also a sampling of footwear, including Birkenstock sandals, Sven clogs, and the ever-popular Keds.
But Mill maintains its own look and style, offering women’s accessories such as tote bags, scarves, and knit hats, and the occasional dress or two.
“We have gone above and beyond, looking for sophisticated pieces more refined for women,” says store manager Michele Janezic, a fashion designer and former manager of Erica Tanov.
Products from more than 50 local and international companies fill the 800-square-foot shop, painted a soft dove-gray and white.
“A lot of designers that we carry do exclusives just for us, products you can’t find elsewhere,” says Janezic, pointing to smocks made by local designer Matt Dick of Small Trade Company. She notes that items can be ordered online at millmercantile.com.
The boutique also offers Japanese homeware, such as stackable bowls by Hasami Porcelain ($15-$75); perfumes and skin-care products by local producer In Fiore; and books and magazines on design, fashion, and food.
To Janezic, a Diamond Heights resident, the name “Mill” conjures up the idea of a finely tuned factory. But the word also has another meaning: clothes you can comfortably “mill around in.”
Mill Mercantile is open seven days a week: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.