Every day is a craft fair at 512 Unique in Downtown Bay City

Over the last couple years, a lot of crafters have been holed up at home increasing their inventories without having an outlet (other than Facebook Marketplace) to sell their wares. That ended in September when a new, bricks and mortar craft store opened. Today, as many as 42 makers can show and sell their wares at 512 Unique Home Décor and Gifts.

Everything inside 512 Unique is handmade by artists and crafters from the Great Lakes Bay Region.The consignment shop, 512 Saginaw St., sits at the corner of Saginaw and 7th streets in a former car deadlership that was vacated when Survival Fitness moved to a larger building. Learn more about that move in this Oct. 28 article.

Sherry MacDonald, owner of Ellie Nae Designs, says she’s one of those crafters who worked from home. After the pandemic hit, her business became mostly mail-order.

“My business is blended photos,” she says, adding she became a vendor in her own consignment business when she opened 512 Unique. She started her blended photo business in 2017, with a wedding photo, and it grew from there.

“COVID came along and I not only home schooled my daughter, I was working from home all the time. When things started to open up, this opportunity came along so I thought, why not?”

MacDonald says she started putting out feelers on Facebook about wanting to possibly rent a space, and the owner of the former Dunlap building reached back.

“She was a member at (Survival Fitness) and knew they were moving, so I looked at it, thought about it, cried about it, prayed about it, and asked myself can I do it, should I do it?”

Across the street there is another gift shop, and MacDonald decided “if she can do it, so can I.”

The owner hopes families create memories while shopping inside the store.Although they both carry various gifts and décor for the home, MacDonald says “we’re a little bit different here because everything is homemade. We’re the same in that we’re both gift shops, but everything here is handmade.”

Once she decided to open, MacDonald says she took applications on Facebook for consigners. It wasn’t long before she had 150 vendors vying for space.

“I went through and picked the ones that I thought would be the best fit for the shop. I didn’t want to have too many people making wreaths, or too many scrubbies, so we set up a jury and sorted through to see what would be the best fit.”

The result is a consignment shop unlike any other. All 42 vendors come from within a 50-mile radius of Bay City, and she set the shop up so they’re all blended together.

“In an antique mall, once you walk away from someone’s booth you don’t see them again, but here you see everybody’s things all the time.”

Sherry MacDonald ran Ellie Nae Designs from her home, so she understood the needs of crafters trying to run a business from home.She says also the vendors don’t come in and staff the shop. Instead, the crafters drop off their goods and she arranges it to suit the season.

MacDonald says she wants 512 Unique to be a place where families can make memories, too. To help families create those moments soon, she’s bringing Santa Claus into the store for a few hours.

Owner Sherry MacDonald says 150 crafters applied to be part of the home decor and gift shop.She says the shop will also grow and evolve over time, and at least since she opened, she’s been very busy. She’s open Wednesday through Saturday, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday, but will also be open more hours during the holiday season.

Check her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/palletpictures for the most up-to-date information.