Studio Park Arts Marketplace Expands Pop-Up Store in GR. from

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (WOOD) — A new version of The Arts Marketplace is now open in the Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids.

The art market in Studio Park Quietly open to customers on Tuesday after a month-long makeover by Tiffany Eden Design. The shop window overlooking Studio Park’s Piazza features new murals and spaces for home furnishings, games and books, beauty products, jewelry and clothing, fair trade and gourmet treats.

(A photo from The Arts Marketplace/Studio C shows the view of the Studio Park piazza as seen from The Arts Marketplace.)

“It’s beautiful,” said Studio Park spokeswoman Emily Loeks.

(A photo from The Arts Marketplace/Studio C shows the changing area in the store.)

take elephant previously sublet part of the storefront near the corner of Oakes Street and Ionia Avenue SW and opened its retail space in Dec 2020. In exchange for a break in the rent, Pack Elephant also staffed the pop-up Arts Marketplace.

(An undated image shows The Marketplace powered by Pack Elephant in Studio Park. Courtesy: Pack Elephant/Facebook)

According to Loeks, Pack Elephant and the Arts Marketplace had a good relationship when they split up on May 18.

“They just decided that their best investment in energy and growth is that online retail space,” Loeks said.

She said Pack Elephant has seen its online business-to-business sales grow significantly over the past year.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit Arts Marketplace found success in its pop-up space where artists could showcase their work, so it’s now expanding that concept to the space where Pack Elephant was previously located.

(Images provided by The Arts Marketplace/Studio C show some of the items available in the newly reopened Studio Park store.)

Sellers can rent space with a fully staffed sales force for $75 to $350 per month and keep all of their sales revenue, with a minimum rental period of three months. Supporters such as Acrisure, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, MLive Media Group and Studio C help keep costs down, making the space more accessible to suppliers.

(A photo provided by The Arts Marketplace/Studio C shows the vendor space for Shannon Cohen, Inc.)

“For someone like me who wears multiple hats with my business, has a day job and does community-wide volunteering among other things, the Marketplace concept was perfect and timely. I like the downtown. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always wanted to have a shop on Ionia Ave. I feel like I got that, but in a different format and in a much more affordable and feasible (for me) way,” Wear Your Curls owner Felisha Rodriguez reports in a press release.

(Images provided by The Arts Marketplace/Studio C show some of the items available in the newly reopened Studio Park store.)

The Arts Marketplace is home to work from more than 40 creators “and there’s probably room for at least another 30-40 sellers,” Loeks said. The marketplace focuses on supporting businesses by members of historically marginalized groups. Current vendors include Grand Pine Creations, Foliage Effect, Shannon Cohen, Inc., Public Thread, We are Lit, Confident Wear, Minty Boutique, Wear Your Curls, Gracewood Candles, Guelaguetza Designs, and Treetops Collective.

(A photo from The Arts Marketplace/Studio C shows the retail space for Grand Pine Creations.)

Arts Marketplace Board chairman Jamie Dionne said some artists who used the pop-up store have since expanded their businesses. According to general manager Virginia Torres-Rodriguez, some of the most successful suppliers also held “maker events” from their space.

The Arts Marketplace will mark its grand reopening with a ribbon cutting on Friday at 4 p.m. The celebration continues on Saturday with refreshments, artist meet & greets and perks for shoppers.

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