Your original brick and mortar retail store for 102 years!

The Mercantile….where Exeter goes to shop since 1916!

Robert Gene Schelling

March 11, 1938 to September 14, 2020

Our beloved husband, partner, father, brother, grandfather, citrus and walnut grower, loyal friend and president of the Exeter Mercantile Company for 58 years.

May the peace that passes all understanding enfold this great man for eternal life.

Purveyors of reliable farm equipment, goods and services including:

  • International Trucks,
  • CaseIH, Landini, and Kioti tractors,
  • Jack Rabbit nut harvesting and many other fine brands of farm equipment;
  • Complete Farm Equipment Sales
  • Parts
  • Service department with factory certified technicians!
  • ACE Hardware: 8000 sq. foot hardware department, including plumbing, electrical, lawn and garden, Weber and Traeger grills, paint and supplies,
  • Gourmet Cookware and Gadgets, and name brand housewares department.
  • Gift & Bridal Registry,
  • Gifts Department with, Tabletop, crystal, china, children’s toys and books, fashion accessories and whimsies for the discerning shopper.

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Happy Birthday, Exeter Mercantile Co.

Marketing tractors on one side of the building and fine china on the other, the Exeter Mercantile Co. is celebrating its century mark this year.  2015 heralds one hundred years of serving the folks of its community, Exeter, CA.   The Schelling family has passed the business down going on four generations, each spearheading the landmark company and carrying the torch of success towards decades to come…

I was first introduced to the mercantile store at the age of ten.  My grandfather took me to the Exeter store and while there we shopped for some plumbing supplies.  It was in the middle of winter and it was very cold outside.  I followed Grandpa into the store, down an aisle and crossed over a large grate in the middle of the floor.  As I passed over the iron covering, a gust of warm air shrouded me in a way that I will never forget.  I stood there, as I have done many times over the past fifty years and soaked up a life-long memory.

One Christmas I decided to buy my wife a bread making machine.  As a new couple just starting out, I needed to be as frugal as possible, so I went shopping for the best price.  The best deal was in Exeter at the Mercantile on the “china” side, but that was not the best of my experience.  If I had purchased the bread maker in one of the larger chain stores in Visalia or Fresno, I would have had to wait in a long line and be herded through a walking stanchion like a bewildered bovine.  Well, I picked out my gift and while waiting for it to be wrapped for free, Sid Schelling himself personally served me a glass of champagne and wished me a very Merry Christmas.  It does not get any better than that!  Small town charm goes both ways, my wife, Ann, made some wonderful bread and took a loaf of the savory goodness to share with Mr. Schelling and anyone associated with the store.

Early on Mike Pyle helped me open an account at the Mercantile, which pretty much consisted of writing my first and last name in a ledger just above my home address for billing purposes.    No identification required!  As time went along and if Mike was busy, I would set my items on the counter, grab up the receipt book, write down a list of my purchases, the price of each, for Mike to tally up later, and go happily on my way.  Again, if Mike was busy and I was running short of time or coin, I’d look over at him, wave to acknowledge my intent and pay the following day.

With the onset of computers, the Exeter Mercantile has, of course, had to progress with the times, so I can’t use Mike’s receipt book like those “good ol’ days”.  With nearly four generations of  Schelling’s, there have been four generations of customers, each treated as special as I for all these many years, both then and now.  Thanks!

Respectfully,   Ronnie Hughart