Shannon Smith-Sengstack sits comfortably in in an upholstered chair an open, bright store front in downtown Rutledge. At her feet is her French Bulldog “Al,” named after her father who passed away. “It feels good to say his name all the time,” Smith-Sengstack said.
In the back of the building on FairPlay Street, which last served as a community grocery store and is next door to Paul Jones’ iconic Rutledge Hardware Store, there is the sound of children playing.
Welcome to SoulShine Mercantile.
Smith-Sengstack says she initially was interested in the space because she needed a studio/office with wi-fi, but the concept of a mercantile store based on the SoulShine brand, an education concept Smith-Sengstack founded in Dekalb County with 25 other parents that, pre-pandemic, grew to more than 400 students from toddlers to school-aged. The concept,…