Two Grosse Pointe entrepreneurs, neighbors in the city's Village downtown district, have swapped stores, attempting to right-size their businesses by moving into spaces that better fit their sales.
, a teen and tween store selling girls' gifts, jewelry, accessories, room decor, and items for moms cut its floor space in half when it moved to the spot occupied by Village Palm
, a four-year-old Lily Pulitzer Signature store and vendor of preppy brands such as Vineyard Vines and Vera Bradley.
The moves on Kercheval Avenue, the Village's main street, took place nearly three weeks ago and doubled Village Palm's space to about 2,000 square feet at 17110 Kercheval. El's swtiched to about 1,000 square feet next door.
"We've had a great response. I can't even tell you how perfectly it's working out," says Ellen Durand, owner of El's, which was formerly the Village Toy Co.
The new El's also has a party room in the basement for the older set, unlike its previous party room next door, which was ideal for 5- to 10-year-olds. The new party room can host later parties, has karaoke, a duct-tape crafting area and other tween-friendly activities.
Village Toy was a local institution for 25 years. It couldn't compete with big-box toy stores and online merchants, Durand says. A few years ago it added the girls section for tweens and teens, and it became clear that toys would no longer be the family business, Durand says
"The market was going to tweens. We saw that. Everyone saw that," she says.
Village Palm, on the other hand, was busting out of the seams, finding an eager and loyal market for its pink and greens, plaid, floral and flamingo prints.
The goal of the right-sizing for El's and Village Palm, which doubled its space, is to put the businesses in their sweet spots, Durand says. Even if her business booms, she prefers the smaller space and thinks the swap is a mutually beneficial.
"The smaller store is more manageable, which I like," she says. "I think our stores complement each other. Our customers seem to shop at both, so being right next door works out very well."
Source: Ellen Durand, owner El's Boutique
Writer: Kim North Shine