Mercer + Smith Events is named after our grandmothers who taught us everything we know about Southern hospitality and hosting guests and parties in your home the old fashioned way – with style, grace and comfort.
The story behind the name “Mercer + Smith”
Calla’s great-grandparents, H. W. and Fannie Mercer, started their family of nine in Cottondale, FL at the turn of the 20th century. They would later move to DeLand, FL where Calla’s grandmother, Erin Mercer Rowell, would grow up with her seven sisters and one brother. As a young woman living through the Depression, Erin learned early the importance of family and the necessity of hard work. Titles she wore proudly included; Red Cross volunteer during World War II, Stetson University graduate, elementary school teacher, church member, mother and grandmother. She is remembered for her kindness of spirit by those who knew her, whether students, friends or family.
As a child, Calla knew her as “Grandmom”. Now, in her adulthood, Calla knows her as the single most influential person throughout her life. Growing up, Erin taught Calla social graces, generosity, compassion for others, and instilled in her the belief that anything was possible through hard work and perseverance. Erin was the epitome of Southern grace and charm. You would always find fresh flowers throughout her home and a meticulously set table for every meal. Her style, knack for decorating and creating beautiful spaces for loved ones to gather, have all greatly influenced Calla’s own decorating and event planning style. She is Calla’s greatest inspiration. In following her passion, Calla hopes to honor the memory of her beloved Grandmom.
The name Smith represents the heritage of Jackie’s Southern grandparents and her mother who she deeply cherishes. Her grandfather, or Papa as the family knew him, was William Howard Smith. He served in the U.S. Army, earned a doctorate in education and was a district extension director and associate professor at the University of Florida. He was also a judge and president of the Gainesville Camellia Society with a yard full of award-winning flowers. He met Mary Ruth Cowart and gave her his last name after they married in 1953 in Madison, FL. Their children are Bill and, Jackie’s mother, Nancy.
The name Smith means many things but mostly it stands for recognizing the importance of tradition, family values, and always doing the best that you can with what you’ve got. At age 86, Mary Ruth Smith’s best memories are of a house full of people, a table full of food and conversation overflowing. The Smiths loved nothing more than having their loved ones around and Jackie is proud to have inherited that special trait.