The History of Thomas Mercantile Co.
is one that weaves through three generations of lives, two world
wars, the Great Depression and more.
It features strong family ties, tragedy, heartache, love and community.
It begins with Samuel Thomas riding into the tiny hamlet of Swan Lake
in south Bannock County on a bright and sunny morning in 1909 and
purchasing a little store. For more than a century, three generations
of the Thomas family kept the business — which area residents referred
to as the Swan Lake Mall — up and running before it closed its doors
in 2017. Now, the mercantile has found itself in good hands once again,
with a new owner overseeing the restoration of the historic building.
“I started to just feel really deep down inside that this was what I needed to do,” she said.
“It felt like it wasn't just a store, it wasn't just an old building to restore, which is what
I had initially been looking for. It was something that just was good for the community,
it was kind of back to basics. That's where I am in my life right now, where I feel like
it's so vital to strengthen communities and strengthen local areas.”
- Kaarin Engelmann