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Wednesday, February 26,2014

New In Town

Grace Boutique/Bradly´s Home & Garden/Cravings Gourmet Popcorn

by ALLAN I. ROSS
Several Old Town denizens have cast Horace Greeley’s advice to the wind, making plans to boldly go east across the apparent Cedar Street divide. The big news this week was Grace Boutique of Old Town’s upcoming move to Young’s Landing, the building across the street to the north from the neighborhood’s landmark Temple Club building. Grace owner Summer Schriner closed on the building Monday. She said she plans to start reconstruction efforts next week for a May move-in.

“By summertime, most likely,” she said. “We’re going to be able to more than double in space — that’ll be really nice.”

Grace Boutique, 115 E. Grand River Ave., is a women’s clothing, handbag, shoe and accessory shop specializing in classic styles. She opened the 1,100-square-foot store in 2007 and business has been good.

“We just needed more space,” she said. “(This move will) also allow me to invest in the neighborhood. With Zoobie’s and Leopold & Bloom recently opening, this is the start of a nice new page of Old Town. I’m trying to build on that and bring other businesses in as well.”

The Young’s Landing building, 509-513 E. Grand River Ave., formerly belonged to key Old Town figure Bernadine Young, who died last September.

“She was a great pioneer for Old Town,” Schriner said. “She had used the space as a business incubator, but nothing stuck. We’re coming and putting something new in there. We’re continuing her vision.”

Schriner plans to use two of the building’s three storefronts for Grace; the third she plans to lease to another retailer (she said she’s in negotiations with two, but nothing is set in stone yet). She said construction will involve the removal of a load-bearing wall, the installation of a steel beam and a completely new storefront.

“Old Town has reached critical mass in middle, but it has so much potential to expand,” Schriner said. “There’s so much opportunity for everyone — it’s a win-win.”

One of the new winners is Bradly Rakowski, whose home furnishings business Bradly’s Home & Garden takes over Grace’s old digs after she moves out. His location inside the former Comfort Station, 313 E. Grand River Ave., is only 480 square feet. The move, which includes an expansion into Grace’s next-door neighbor’s space, will give him nearly six times the room. That row of buildings on the 100 block of Grand River was formerly home to longtime Old Town business Estes Furniture, which expanded from Washington Avenue to Grand River but was divvied back up into separate buildings when Estes moved away in the ‘90s.

“It’s kind of cool to bring furniture back into this historic location,” Rakowski said. “This move will allow us to bring in three new furniture lines and give our space more of a showroom feel.”

Bradly’s will take over Greenfield Collection Antiques’ space next door on May 1, which is set to close after a two-year run. In addition to furniture and housewares — including silverware, napkins and bedding — Bradly’s also sells upscale dog gifts (including handmade dog bowls, organic dog soaps and specialty dog treats from a pet-centric bakery), children’s toys and naughty cards.

“Yeah, they’re pretty naughty, and they’re hilarious,” Rakowski said. “We recently expanded that line. People come in just for those.”

Bradly’s will also serve as the retail outlet for Craig Mitchell Smith Glass, which recently moved into the building right behind the 100 block of buildings (see page 17).

“I’ve worked out a deal with Craig where this will be more of a collaborative showroom,” Rakowski said. “It’s going to be very interesting to see how this works out.”

Chad Jordan is keeping his business, Cravings Gourmet Popcorn, right where it’s at, 1210 Turner St., but he’s also expanding east with a second location. Seven miles east, to be precise, in the shopping plaza home of Dusty’s Cellar in Okemos.

“It’s a natural progression of growth,” Jordan said. “I have a lot of customers in that area, and I thought a second location could help grow that base.”

The second location, 1871 W. Grand River Ave., will give Jordan 4,600-square feet of space, more than quadruple the room he has in Old Town. He said the building needs a little infrastructure work and predicts a June 1 move-in.

“This is the result of buying local, shopping local,” Jordan said.

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