Gum Creek Mercantile Is Newest Business to Open in Ben Wheeler


Ben Wheeler continues to make headlines due to the revitalization of this once ghost town. What started as one man’s (Brooks Gremmels) mission turned into a community-wide focus.

“People that were from here wanted to come back and help” said born and raised Ben Wheeler native Joey Stanger. “It just made sense when I wanted to start a new business it should be located here.”

Joey Stanger, founder of Stanger Surveying in Tyler, Canton and Fairfield, joined forces with Shaun Crook, a biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and his wife, Laura Crook, who was employed by Stanger Surveying Tyler, to open Gum Creek Mercantile, featuring custom, quality wood flooring, doors, home furnishings, jewelry,  and more.

The Crook’s, who both attended Stephen F. Austin State University receiving undergraduate degrees in Forest Management and Masters of Science moved to Ben Wheeler and built their own home from trees harvested locally. This idea soon evolved from their house to a storefront.

“It was a risk — the building we purchased was a feed store and had to be completely renovated. I think we would have been better off tearing it down” Shaun said.

“The town watched our progress and teased that we only put up one board per day,” Laura adds. “Regardless of the slow process we have now completed the store and are looking forward to people making the trip to see our work.”

All of the wood floors, walls — exterior and interior — doors and some furniture are made from local trees that the couple harvested, kiln dried, milled, and processed themselves.”

“We wanted our store to be a showroom of the high quality things we build, as well as a unique gift shop,” Laura said.  “We have something for everyone. Most of the products we carry are made in the USA and in Texas. We have Ticklebutton Jewelry from Corpus Christi, Farmhouse Fresh from Frisco, Wimberly Farms infused cooking oils, and Texas Rangers hot sauce and queso.”

This summer Gum Creek will host live music and offer locally grown fresh produce, gourmet food samples, sidewalk sales, girl’s night out and more.

Gum Creek Mercantile is located at 13878 Highway 64 in Ben Wheeler right next to the Texaco. They are open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Stay up-to-date with the latest happenings on their Facebook page and visit their website or call 903.330.4566.

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