The first time I visited the Greenhouse Bus Mercantile it felt like I had found a secret treasure out in the small town of Blanchester Ohio.

The building is weathered with decades of character and when you walk in the shop is full of organic goodness.

There is kombucha on tap, organic teas, micro-greens, grains, meat, honey, and it just keeps going.

The natural light pours in as you go down steps and find books, jewelry, and boutique items.

Then turn to the apothecary room full of essential oils. It is a wonderland for your senses and that’s only the first floor!

Upstairs is the coffee bar and every nook and cranny is full of authentic old farmhouse charm.

The drinks are something you would expect to find at a trendy coffee shop in Chicago, not in Blanchester.

The Greenhouse Bus has a very Chip and Joanna Gaines vibe, but it’s its own place. I had to know— how did something this endearing end up tucked away seemingly sheltered from the chaos of urban life. Thankfully I got to meet co-owner Darci Davidson who filled me in a little and agreed to meet up for an interview.

What a treat! Not only would I have an excuse to return to my new favorite coffee shop, but I would also get an inside scoop about its origin story.

We met up at Greenhouse Bus and I sat on the comfy couch with Darci note pad in hand ready to record all the details. First I took a sip of my creamy sweet Matcha. At this point I had convinced myself that ordering multiple drinks is research for this article. I set the mug down and pushed record on the app on my phone. Darci began opening up about all that transpired to get to this place and the story begins in none other than the small town of Blanchester.

Her childhood was fairly conventional. She and her siblings enjoyed a typical country upbringing.

There was trauma though and when she hit the teen years her stable life suddenly became less secure. She encountered multiple hardships including her parents’ divorce. Not long after that the unimaginable happened, the day before Darci’s 16th birthday she witnessed the death of her brother who was killed in a dirt bike accident. He was a senior in high school. The pain of it all was so unbearable. Darci says “I didn’t know how to process things or who to process it with”. She began drinking and partying as a way to escape. She recounted the days that she would self sabotage not realizing what damage she was causing herself or why she was doing it.

After high school Darci met Dwayne Davidson (who is now her husband). They fell in love and began living together.

To many they were an all  American success story, but they were solely focused on themselves and their own careers.  Darci explained “We lived together 6 years building up my clientele as a hairstylist and he was building up his remodeling business. We spent our free time partying and traveling. In all of our brokenness we were just trying to make the relationship and businesses work.” 

All the while, without realizing it, Darci did anything and everything to distance herself from her hometown, Blanchester. The memories it evoked were agonizing. She numbed herself with the predictable “work-party-travel”  pattern. That was life.

Work. Party. Travel. Repeat.

There was no thought of marriage, or children, or a mission beyond their own personal success.

Their story dramatically changes though  in 2007 when they discovered Jesus, were born again, and committed their lives to Him! Dwayne was immediately convicted about their lifestyle and wanted to marry Darci and make her his wife.

Three short months later they eloped in Hawaii and shortly after that had 5 kids in 6 years! Dwayne also had a daughter when he was very young whom Darci adopted.  “I went from owning my own salon and doing my own thing, to all of the sudden being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to all these kids and literally not even knowing how to cook” Darci chuckled.

Then in 2015 Dwayne and Darci felt called to start a house church.

“We were four years into doing house church before we even knew what house church was!” Darci said.  “So we were just obeying. We were opening up our home and having church. We would let a few people know and told them they could invite whoever they want.” 

At times Darci and Dwayne felt like they had no idea what they were doing, but they felt deep in their hearts that’s what they were supposed to do. It was obedience without having an explanation. They knew that they could trust the Lord’s leading.

As God was moving in their church and in their lives Darci began to respond to a specific prompting from the Lord. She felt that He was wanting to take them back—all the way back—and exposed hurts in them that they had never dealt with. She remembers it all well, “We went through two years of personal healing and those were some intense years. God healed lots of trauma. He revealed why we were running from this town [Blanchester]. Once we cracked that open things would just flow. I would have dreams or a memory that I can’t believe I forgot and the Lord was slowly, in his time, revealing each thing. He was just chiseling away.” Darci says “After that healing season I had realized that I had shoved that part of my life behind and it was time to fully confront it.” 

Prayer, praise, worship, and writing were some of the ways that the Lord continued to heal the broken places.

Then in 2021 Darci had a dream that she was working at a health food store in Blanchester. She opened up to Dwayne about the dream. She admitted that it was silly- “I would never ever open a store in Blanchester. That would be the very last place I would consider. I don’t know why it was in Blanchester in my dream!” Her husband who has a lot of experience as an entrepreneur agreed that it was definitely not where you would want to do business. It didn’t make any logical sense.

Then one night Darci was driving home through Blanchester and while at a stop sign she had a spiritual encounter and the Lord gave her a burden for the city. She was flooded with conviction and emotion. She began praying out loud. She prayed over the houses and the people of Blanchester as tears streamed down her face. He brought complete healing and freedom in that moment so that she could minister to the very city that she tried so hard to forget.

A few months later God would take it all a step further. They were simply wanting to buy some fresh tomatoes when they met Brad and Jessica Tucker who had JUST opened the Greenhouse Bus Mercantile in Blanchester. When they visited this farmers market style story it had only been open a week. They immediately connected with the Tuckers whose ministries aligned so perfectly with theirs. Both families knew this must be a divine appointment.

Brad and Jessica asked them to be vendors of the Greenhouse Bus Mercantile and so the Davidsons did that for one month and then it transpired to a full blown partnership. The Greenhouse Bus Mercantile has been open for two years.

The coffee shop upstairs came shortly after and now they are on the brink of opening a restaurant, Harvester Farm to Table, across the street. 

I was blown away by the whole story! I felt a sense of awe about what God had done in the Davidson’s life. It’s no wonder I felt like the Greenhouse Bus Mercantile was such a special place.  Darci smiled as she reflected on everything she had just shared. Then she spoke softly,

“That night that I drove the streets and prayed in 2021—this place is the answer to a prayer that I prayed. And I didn’t know that God would answer it like this. So sometimes it wrecks me. I’ll sit in the coffee shop and look out in the streets and I’ll cry. He turned that pain into a burden and that’s what this whole thing is about.”