Jennifer Sadinsky is the owner of Grayhorse Mercantile, one of Langley’s newest stores. (David Welton)

Jennifer Sadinsky is the owner of Grayhorse Mercantile, one of Langley’s newest stores. (David Welton)

Shopkeeper brings taste of Europe to Whidbey Island

A first-time business owner’s dream of opening a cheese shop became a reality this year.

LANGLEY — A first-time business owner’s dream of opening a cheese shop became a reality this year.

Along the way, she’s introducing Langley to products from all around the world.

Clinton resident Jennifer Sadinsky is one of the newest merchants in the Village by the Sea. Her specialty foods and home goods store, Grayhorse Mercantile, opened in May.

Just one month ago, Sadinsky began stocking the cases with an array of unique cheeses.

“I’ve always loved cheese,” she said. “If it was up to me, I’d probably only have the stinky cheeses because that is what I truly love, but I try to have a range of hard cheeses, softer cheeses, washed rinds, more mild and all of the different dairies: cow, goat and sheep and even some buffalo.”

But by far, vegan cheese has been the most popular among locals.

Sadinsky moved to Whidbey Island permanently during the COVID-19 pandemic. Formerly the marketing director for an architecture firm in Seattle, the pandemic made her rethink what she was doing with her life. The dream of the cheese shop rose to the top, and the rest is history.

Grayhorse Mercantile is the only cheese shop of its kind on South Whidbey – the closest one is located north, at the Greenbank Farm.

But cheese isn’t the only thing on the menu at the new gift shop. One can also find interesting beverages, varieties of shellfish and condiments made with gin, for example. Many of the food items in Grayhorse Mercantile hail from other countries, meaning they can’t be found anywhere else nearby.

At the same time, Sadinsky’s store also carries beautiful and useful products for everyday life, including spatulas, pottery, candles and pillows. Sprinkled throughout are unique vintage items, such as Depression Era glassware.

Grayhorse Mercantile carries some one-of-a-kind vintage items, such as this Depression Era glassware. (David Welton)

Grayhorse Mercantile carries some one-of-a-kind vintage items, such as this Depression Era glassware. (David Welton)

Sadinsky heavily researches what she wants to sell in the store. Some of the products she has found during her travels abroad in Europe, others she found out about from other sources.

She is also hoping to have more Whidbey artisans represented in her store.

Grayhorse Mercantile derives its name from the horse races Sadinsky would watch with her great uncle when she was younger. She always bet on the gray horse.

“They just seem beautiful and special and something about them just always drew me to them,” she said. “I can’t really explain it.”

She’s never had a horse herself, although there are some pictures of equines hanging up in the store, courtesy of her great uncle.

In the fall, Sadinsky plans to put together cheese boards and snack boxes for sale that people can take on a picnic or to a party. She also plans to host classes, meet-the-maker events and cheese tastings.

Above all, she hopes to be a resource for locals.

“Here, I like to really support women-owned businesses and small makers and sustainable products,” she said. “I’m really happy that I can actually do the things that I’ve always felt passionate about and couldn’t always get done where I was working before.”

Grayhorse Mercantile is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday and is located at 117 Anthes Ave. in Langley. For more information, visit grayhorsemercantile.com.

This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sister publication to The Herald.

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