Get to know Block 100 Antiques & Mercantile

Business Owner: Russ Evans
Business: Block 100 Antiques & Mercantile
Location: Provo, Utah

Meet Russ
Meet Russ Evans, owner of Block 100 Antiques & Mercantile in Downtown Provo, Utah. You will have to resist giving this man a hug when you first meet him, as he will make you feel as if you have been a friend of his for years, even part of his family. He feels genuine love for every person that walks through his front doors and he wants to hear your story just as much as you’ll want to hear his. He has owned several businesses over the years, traveled as a musician with his wife, playing for audiences up to 22,000 people, and has seen almost every state in the country. Meet Russ, and see that passion is what drives him to do what he does every day.

“The cornerstone of anything that’s worthwhile and worth doing, is always art. For me the music got deep into my soul, and then it let me find my way again. This business represents the songs I’ve heard sung, and the America that I’ve seen. My advice to anyone would be, as Joshua James quoted Abraham Lincoln, ‘If you are going to do something do it well’ be you and be the best you, that you can be.”

The beginnings of Block 100 Antiques & Mercantile 
Russ has been in the antiques business for 40 years, he took a “stint” where him and his wife were traveling the country as musicians. They sold their other businesses and music has been the focus for the last 10 years of their life. After being called back to Provo, music continued to play a huge influence, but in a different way. “I moved back to Provo, and saw what Velour was doing. Some of the greatest bands in the world today: Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Joshua James, Fictionists— all those sorts of bands that are winning Grammys, and have international claim— launched out of this building.  I started attending shows there, and was moved by the art of Corey Fox who owns that business, he had one particular musician one night, Joshua James who sang a song about being fearless and doing what you believe in. I bought this building that night. My wife says, ‘my husband saw a sign, but it was a for sale sign.’ So I bought the building and just started rehabbing it, not sure exactly what I would do. But as I came in here and I listened to that song over and over again, I just found myself, and in finding myself I’m doing what I should be doing, and that is celebrating the art of America in its most practical forms, whether it’s a home made piece of furniture or something from a manufactured industry. Music and art has been a driving force for Russ. It’s been his inspiration to live the American Dream. “The cornerstone of anything that’s worth doing is always art. For me, the music got deep into my soul, and then it let me find my way again,” says Russ. He also has some inspiring words about his store, and what his purpose here is, “This store represents the songs I’ve heard sung, and the America that I’ve seen. In the last forty years I have been in almost every state in America finding choice little pieces from tables and toys, to sloped back claw foot tubs and the music is where it all started, I cannot underscore more the art of Corey Fox and bringing in so much great music that has lifted me to be young again.”

The Biggest Win 
Russ Evans would tell you that his biggest win is the interaction with the people he has met, and also the addition he feels he is to the community, “I have met a lot of new people, but I think the single biggest reward is feeling like I am offering something to the community. People can come in here and reminisce, they tell stories of their grandparents or their parents or their upbringing from things that they see, and often they can take a piece home that can work for them. I’m here because I want to be and not because I have to be, so it’s important to me to have those relationships with the people who come through the store.” Someone who once believed Provo, Utah couldn’t change, is now a part of the change in culture and the growth of the town. “Provo, was Provo,” said Russ, “But what I did find out is there actually was a significant change. There was a core of people, Corey Fox being one of them, Mayor John Curtis being one, Kaneischa Johnson being another one. There were several key people and many, many more which were a part of this change. I wanted to participate in that, I wanted to do my share and be a part of the scene and the commitment to make Provo very cool.” Russ went from being inspired by the people of Provo, to inspiring the people in Provo.

Russ’s Advice
“Joshua James quoted Abraham Lincoln, he said, “If you are going to do something, do it well.” And in his music he personifies that in certain lyrics, one of those things is ‘to not to have fear and to trust your self.’ I’m paraphrasing his poetry, but in that poetry, he talks about Being you and being the best you that you can be. When he says it, he does it in a way that his whole body expresses it, he says ‘DO IT, just go out and do it” so what I would tell anybody is to do what Abraham Lincoln said and Joshua clarified so well, and that is if you are going to do something, do it with your whole heart and soul, put everything you have into it, and don’t fear.”

Russ’s Advice
“Joshua James quoted Abraham Lincoln, he said, “If you are going to do something, do it well.” And in his music he personifies that in certain lyrics, one of those things is ‘to not to have fear and to trust your self.’ I’m paraphrasing his poetry, but in that poetry, he talks about Being you and being the best you that you can be. When he says it, he does it in a way that his whole body expresses it, he says ‘DO IT, just go out and do it” so what I would tell anybody is to do what Abraham Lincoln said and Joshua clarified so well, and that is if you are going to do something, do it with your whole heart and soul, put everything you have into it, and don’t fear.”