Here is what happened in the span of 15 minutes one Tuesday afternoon at Mardell’s Gift and Jewelry Store on Main street in Vineyard Haven.

Not an inch of space is wasted. — Ivy Ashe

An older woman purchased a Thanksgiving card, and a younger man bought blue flowered wrapping paper, a spool of blue ribbon and a card (but no envelope). A man accompanied by two young children bought two birthday cards, two boxes of Tic Tacs, Hallmark tissue paper and a Winnie the Pooh gift bag.

A woman bought a pack of cigarettes (kept behind the counter, out of sight). Another woman picked up her good-as-new watchband, fixed by store manager Gary Sylvia, and deemed Mr. Sylvia “Awesome.” A girl bought a Merry Marshmallow Yankee Candle, the toasted-sugar smell wafting through the front register area.

Christmas candles ready to be taken home. — Ivy Ashe

Mardell’s, like many establishments on Main street, is in the business of serving both a year-round and a seasonal customer base. It is also in the business of serving just about every age group, as evidenced by the Ty stuffed animals on one shelf and the Timex watches on another.

When owner Robin Sylvia says that Mardell’s sells “everything, really,” she’s not exaggerating. The store is not a large one, but every inch of space — even the ceiling, where there are hanging piñatas — is filled.

Longtime employee Brenda Duart and Mardell's owners Robin and Gary Sylvia. — Ivy Ashe

The store first opened in 1913 as a paper store and was owned by Charles Vincent. For about 70 years it was called Vincent’s Paper Store. Mrs. Sylvia’s father Robert Clark bought the store in 1973 and ran it with his wife Mardell, for whom it is now named, for decades. Three years into his new venture, he opened a Mardell’s in Edgartown, but he was eventually priced out of that location due to high rents. Rent is not a problem at the Vineyard Haven location, however, as the entire building (which also contains a hair salon and nail salon) is owned by the family.

The Clarks sold Hallmark cards, stationery and gifts at both of their locations, and for a time the Edgartown store was the lone spot on Main street to sell newspapers.

Greeting cards are cornerstone of the business. — Ivy Ashe

“I wanted to keep people happy in the winter,” Mr. Clark told the Gazette at the time. “There was no place on Main street to buy papers, and I said that’s not right.”

Mrs. Sylvia was a teenager when her parents took on the business. What she remembers most about Mardell’s in its early days is the jewelry selection. The Sylvias still keep a supply of jewelry in stock, displayed in glass cases. At souvenir and gift shows (they just returned from a show in Tennessee), they are careful to buy only 14 karat gold and sterling silver items.

“People will ask for things throughout the year,” Mrs. Sylvia said. “We try to remember it.”

Robin's Homemade Fudge makes the world go around. — Ivy Ashe

This time of year, three aisles in the store are given over entirely to greeting cards which are still a staple of the business. But in the summer, one aisle becomes a space for souvenirs and flatter items (books, placemats, puzzles) that can fit in the same space as a card. Moving products around to ensure visibility is one of the puzzles of the job. Mr. Sylvia calls it the product shuffle.

“We seem to be the information booth, too,” Mrs. Sylvia said. “Everybody comes in [and asks] where do I get this, where do I get that?” They don’t always buy things, she said, but the staff is still happy to help. Mardell’s has a small staff: just the Sylvias and two other employees. Occasionally, a summer employee comes on board, too.

But it’s not just the wide selection of goods that brings people in to Mardell’s. At this time of year, regulars drop in, greeting Robin and Gary by their first names before making their purchases.

“People don’t want to come in if you’re not friendly,” Mrs. Sylvia said.