As a child, Michelle Castelloe would pretend to ring things up on her grandparents’ antique cash register at her imaginary store. She pictured herself as a shopkeeper, and her grandfather often used the word “moxie” to describe her. “He was born in Maine, and there’s a soda there called Moxie,” Castelloe explains. “It’s awful, but he drank it all the time. He used to use that word to describe me—somebody who’s got some guts, who’s brave, who’s willing to take a risk. I always knew I’d use the word ‘moxie’ in my brand.”

It stayed with her through a winding career, from a seemingly comfortable corporate position to the fulfillment of her dream to own her own boutique. In 2015, Castelloe opened Moxie Mercantile in an old bungalow in Commonwealth. The boutique, which began with three employees, sold women’s apparel and home accessories, plus a mix of vintage finds and jewelry by local artisans. Three years later, she opened a second store in Davidson.


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