■ BY MARCY SHORTUSE
Highlands and Cashier’s N.C. have always been sister towns to Boca Grande, as many of our residents have homes there or visit frequently. Becca Burch, a generational island girl whose mother owns Ariel, Ltd. and Palm on Park – a Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store, grew up going to Highlands and loves it there. When she decided to start her own business, it was an easy leap for her to decide that nearby Cashier’s would be the place for her to start out.
The Mountain Mermaid is a specialty clothing store for women with a smattering of Ariel and Lilly included, as well as some merchandise Becca picked out from other vendors.
“My parents have property in Highlands, so we’ve been coming up here to check on the properties since I was little,” Becca said. “I wanted to open a store up here and first looked at Highlands, but Highlands is already built out. Then I thought about Cashiers, where there is a lot more room for growth. The major grocery store is located in Cashiers also, so I thought I could reach more people, including possible customers making the trip to the grocery store. I rent the building from my parents. My goal is to buy it from them in the future.”
Becca said the building is actually an old house, and each room has a different theme. One room features athletic and travel wear, one features outerwear and scarves, one is a shoe room, and one large room in the back focuses on resort wear.
“I’ve been working with my mom pretty much my whole life in one way or another. This is my first store, and I just really wanted to take a chance and try/own something of my own,” she said.
As far as the name goes, Becca said that while she loves the mountains, she also wanted to maintain a little piece of her island home in the name.
“I felt the name kind of represented my story and my new adventure, and The Mountain Mermaid just seemed perfect,” she said.
While she doesn’t have a website yet, you can follow the store on Instagram. Stay tuned for more about this unique little piece of Gasparilla Island that can be found in the mountains of North Carolina.