Not a lot of people would travel out of country to find product for their store. But that is exactly how El Mercado began.
El Mercado opened on Lorne street in 1973 as a Mexican import shop. Two friends, Marsha and Shirley would travel to Mexico twice a year to find wonderful “artesanias” to stock their store.
A second location was opened in the Southridge Mall in 1981, named Madrigal after Shirley & Marsha’s friends from Mexico. In 1984 the original shop, El Mercado moved to the City Centre and subsequently to 88 Durham Street where the shop is located today.
Shirley and Marsha still travel to Mexico to visit with friends and enjoy the warm weather, but no longer make the trips to acquire product. The product mix has evolved from purely Mexican to a more international flavour, with a large number of Canadian made items. El Mercado carries gifts for all occasions and home décor, focusing on ‘uniqueness’ of the product and creating a pleasant shopping environment.