Grosse Pointe's Village business district is getting another tenant in a specialty gift shop, Small Favors
, an arrival that will almost completely fill the three-block area along Kercheval Avenue.
A year ago the stretch that is considered the Grosse Pointes's downtown area was pocked by numerous vacant storefronts.
"The Village is on the cusp of a rebirth, and it's so exciting to be a part of it," says Kasey Malley, who co-owns Small Favors with Betsy Enders. Small Favors started in the basement of Malley's home in 2003, mostly selling specialty party favors. Within a few years the business had moved into a warehouse-type building with room to assemble party supplies and corporate gift baskets and such. Five years ago they opened a retail gift shop on Mack Avenue.
Earlier this year, they decided to move from their approximately 500-square-foot square foot store to a 1,500-square-foot space in the same block of Kercheval where a Borders bookstore and Ace Hardware once operated. Now there is a recently opened massage business, a dance studio, a Calico Corners fabric store and a shoe store, The Shoe Tree. St.John Medical center offices and a Scott Shuptrine furniture store are on the way.
"We didn't do as well as we could have on Mack. We had limited parking on the street and no parking lot," Malley says. "People would go out of their way to come to us. They're loyal, but there just was not enough traffic."
A build-out of the new Small Favors space is underway and will have "a great look with an industrial feel" with an open ceiling, exposed duct work and polished concrete floors, says Malley.
Opening day is expected to come in February. The current location remains open with holiday merchandise already out. While the new store, which is near the city's Santa's Village, is under construction there will be holiday pop-up shops selling Small Favors favorites. Other local Grosse Pointe business owners such as Ethel's Edibles's Jill Bommarito, and belt, belt buckle and specialty monogrammed item designer Kristen Henchel will join the pop-ups.
Small Favors is stocked with carefully selected merchandise found mostly by Enders and Malley on their annual trips to America's Mart in Atlanta. There they seek out new businesses and products that are unique. "We don't want anything you'll find in Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond…We don't want mass market.We're trying to keep that boutique-y small town, smaller feel," Malley says.
Small Favors regulars also come for the selection of favorite preppy brands such as Scout, high-quality candles and body products and unusual toys.
The move to the Village takes Malley back to the days "of what the Village used to be. It was small, independent businesses. That's what we've been missing. People want to go to the Village and shop around, get a coffee and stroll in and out. I think we're getting back to that and it's an exciting time."