Connecting the future to its past is one of the aims behind the ongoing and upswing in activity in one of the city’s historic buildings.
Anyone traversing Fourth Street may have noticed the hustle and bustle in the old Zearing’s Mercantile building. Much work has gone into the interior and much more lies ahead before a planned late July opening for Zearing’s Mercantile, the same name it held for years in the city’s historic downtown.
Given its origins and place in Benson history, it was only fitting to recreate the mercantile to as much of its original luster as possible, explained Cindy Allen, longtime Benson resident and with husband, Dan, proprietor of the soon-to-be-opened business.
The venture is what the Allens have planned to do in their “retirement” years.
“Dan and I have been together 30 years now… we’re self employed and decided that antiques was going to be our retirement, so we started buying antiques almost 30 years ago,” said Allen.
The store will offer antiques among others items and which will also include as much old-style candy as they can find. “We’re telling people it’s the new old Zearing’s because candy is not going to be $4.99 a pound anymore,” she quipped. The front window will display mannequins in form and in tribute to Iris and Wally Zearing.
“All the stuff we bought from the auction will be back in here, plus our varied antiques,” said Allen, showing the original display cases which again will be full while taking a bit of a break from the simultaneous projects at hand on an afternoon last week.
On this day, Lisa Hill and Allen are manning rollers, applying paint to a back wall. Doug Quarles, of the city’s murals fame and atop his scaffold, is painting the facade while work on the building’s security system is in the works. All the work, and much of it still lies ahead, is for a targeted July 27 opening date with a grand opening and ribbon cutting planned. Final details are still being hammered out and more information will become available as details are finalized.
Allen’s excitement builds as she discusses her plans for the building.
The building itself has gone through transformations, it was the K&H Store before it became Zearings, Allen noted, with many of the display cases and meat counter from the K&H Store providing authenticity.
Allen described it on a Facebook post, “Built during Benson’s railroad era before the turn of the century, it served mainly as a mercantile establishment. Today, we’re turning back time reopening Zearing’s Mercantile! We will be selling candy once again, reliving memories made here and helping to make our wonderful little town of Benson, Arizona beautiful again! Follow along our journey remembering and honoring the ultimate storyteller himself, Mr. Zearing. Keep an eye out for our grand opening summer 2019! We can’t wait for everyone to see what magic lives in here.”