Wooden Skate reopens with new name, new management

Kellie Johnson wanted to expand her horizons and found what she was looking for right around the corner.

In early- to mid-February, the long-time founder of Kellie's Consignments in Okemos will reopen the shuttered Wooden Skate, bringing her acumen for the best in resale and fine vintage to the iconic space at 1259 W. Grand River Ave.

"We're lightening and brightening it, but leaving the charm of what was there before," says Johnson. "We're not taking away anything, just adding a few things. People who shopped there loved it for what it was."

The Wooden Skate closed its storefront in 2012 after a nearly 40-year run as a seller of fine jewelry, antiques and estate goods. Owned by Gary Durow, the shop was renowned for being housed in a renovated building that replicated an 1880s town. The structure incorporated stained glass, tin ceilings, antique stairways, and oak columns and woodwork. The landscaped grounds featured a Victorian two-story child's playhouse, gazebo, and a "living cemetery" with wooden headstones bearing humorous inscriptions of people still "above ground."

While the Wooden Skate maintained an online presence and sales on-site by appointment, Durow was looking for someone to reopen the physical doors. Johnson fit the profile.

"I'm super excited to bring the Wooden Skate back to life," says Johnson. "It was the place where people came because their mom or grandma or their sister got their diamond there and they want to, too. Generations of people went there. It will be a perfect complement to Kellie's Consignments."

Kellie's Wooden Skate will retain the jewelry focus and bring a "hipster" appeal to the inventory of antiques. Customers will find items along the lines of what they might see on a show like "American Pickers"—including architectural artifacts, vintage and antique signs, and industrial antiques.

"It's not your grandma's antique store," says Johnson. "It's accent pieces, collectibles, and other cool stuff people are looking for today."

Kellie's Wooden Skate will feature both new and consignment inventory. Johnson is also expanding her business model at the popular Kellie's Consignment to include in-home moving and estate sales.

"We started doing this all in earnest over the past year," says Johnson. "We really have a focus now. We do recycling with flair. And we do it with the help of the community."

Johnson hired a full-time gemologist to work at the re-opened Wooden Skate. The shop will be staffed with a rotation of employees from Kellie's Consignments.

Source: Kellie Johnson, Owner, Kellie's Wooden Skate
Writer/Editor: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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