Kilgore Mercantile & Music is a country general store, ice cream parlor and music school & instrument store all rolled into one location in Downtown Kilgore.
It was opened by Fred and Vivian Gebhardt in October 2019 and quickly became a gathering spot for the community and visitors alike.
“Kilgore Mercantile is a place where people can relax and enjoy one another,” said Fred. “We want people to feel welcome to come in and play games at our tables, to just hang out. We have outdoor seating, we’ve got instruments to play, we’ve got Blue Bell, and it’s just a happy place and what’s what we want it to continue to be.”
“When you come into Kilgore Mercantile obviously you see ice cream, that’s one of the first things people look at,” said Vivian. “And it’s always Blue Bell, we don’t serve anything but Blue Bell. So then you come in and we have the vintage toys, toys that I played with as I was a child and it brings back a lot of memories for grandparents and parents. I’ve also got antique candies that were made back in the 20s and before that are still made today in the same exact same way that they were made back then. And so that’s another memory lane type of thing.”
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You can also find some jams, jellies, sauces, local honey and more.
There’s also locally hand-made jewelry, souvenirs, and other knick-knacks.
And the latest addition to the shelves is a variety of soup mixes. You can also enjoy a bowl of soup while you’re inside the store.
Other food items include nachos, hot dogs and ice cream.
You can get a malt, shake, sundae, float, or just a plain ol’ scoop — with any of the toppings.
The motto at Kilgore Mercantile & Music is the toppings are always free!
“I make specialty shakes and my favorite one is what we call the Sweet Cheat Shake,” said Vivian. “The Sweet Cheat Shake is a chocolate with coffee, caramel, and extra chocolate syrup, with whipped topping and caramel and chocolate all over the cup and everything else.”
But if you have something else in mind, let them know. They can create whatever you want, and make it delicious.
When you walk into Kilgore Mercantile & Music you’ll notice there are instruments hanging on almost every wall, and an entire room in the back dedicated to music.
“Our idea is for people come in and actually just pick up an instrument and play,” said Vivian. “Just play and have a good time. We want you to enjoy and be relaxed and and know that you’re welcome here at any time.”
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There are a variety of instruments available, for both beginners and professionals to enjoy.
But if you’re interested in either purchasing an instrument, or taking lessons, then that’s available, too.
“We we have some really talented teachers working and we teach them banjo, mandolin, guitar, piano, drums, accordion, vocals,” said Fred. “[If you’re not local] some of them can teach online and you can meet with them that way, and have some classes that way.”
When it comes to merchandise, they’ve recently added guitars to their lineup.
“We had a lot of students coming in looking for instruments so we’ve added some D’Angelico and Oscar Schmidt, and Washburn’s guitars which are not available in this area,” said Fred. “We’ve got ukuleles, we have a youth bass we have, just an assessment of fun instruments for beginners and then good for professionals too.”
Kilgore Mercantile & Music is located at 105 North Street in Kilgore.
Their current hours of operation are:
Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
However, starting the Monday of Thanksgiving, Kilgore Mercantile & Music will be open 7 days a week through the holidays.
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