The English Merchant’s Inn is extending its footprint to another sector of Waxahachie later this summer.
The Inn, located at 717 West Main Street, is one of the oldest buildings in the area, built by English cotton merchant James Wright Harrison in 1915. Owner Howard Baskin said Harrison moved to Ellis County with his bride at the time due to its reputation as the Cotton Capital of America.
“Cotton was king – and it was king in Waxahachie,” Howard stated. “Many of these beautiful homes were built, directly or indirectly, from the cotton business.”
“It’s a gem of Waxahachie,” his wife, Mary Baskin, added. “It’s very unique in its own right.”
The Baskins lived in the home when their children were young and re-purchased it in March 2016 to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast. Having worked as an interior designer for over 35 years, Mary said she enjoyed designing the Inn’s luxurious settings in the style of England.
“It’s my love of England,” Mary said. “With the history of the home, I just thought it would be fun to play off the English theme.”
However, there was one challenge that the couple faced with their Inn, and that was hosting events. Mary said the Inn gets several calls requesting to host wedding rehearsals, dinners, graduation parties and baby showers. But since it’s a bed-and-breakfast, the English Merchant’s Inn is restricted to that specific use.
So, to serve a greater need, the Baskins are expanding into a new event planning business at 109 North Rogers Street, formerly known as the Luxe Salon & Spa. They’re calling the venue the English Merchant’s Parlour.
“We’re a smaller, more intimate space,” she said. “But it’s carrying on with the English Merchant’s Inn theme. It’s kind of like the English Merchant’s living room.”
The venue will be decorated similarly to the Inn, but with a few amenities unique to the Parlour. The Parlour will have a beer and wine countertop that attendees will be able to use for their events, and will have a dining area that can transform into either three separate rooms or one larger one.
“It will fit in with the historic nature of downtown,” Howard expressed. “We think there’s a market for local folks and people coming in to have their weddings. I believe it will fill a need that the city has for an upscale, beautiful setting that is dedicated specifically to holding events. It’ll be a pretty, charming addition to downtown.”
The Waxahachie City Council and planning and zoning commission recently approved the Parlour's specific use permit during their respective meetings last week. Mary said she hopes the Parlour serves the community in a unique way – one fitting to the English Merchant’s.
“I want it to be fun and youthful – kind of quirky, unexpected, and inviting,” she expressed. “It’s more personal and more involved.”
The English Merchant’s Parlour is scheduled to open in late April or early May. Reservations can be made online when the Baskins release a website for the Parlour.
To learn more about the English Merchant’s Inn, call 254-366-0229 or go online at www.theenglishmerchantsinn.com.