Grove Studios finds new location, adjusts plans for shipping-container studio spaces

Grove Studios, an Ypsilanti-based business providing rehearsal space for local creatives, has found a new home at 884 Railroad in Ypsilanti. The studio opened in its new space in early March and held an open house March 4.


The studio's founders started off 2017 with a bang, winning the inaugural Pitch Ypsi competition and a $5,000 prize to help bring their concept of a studio built from shipping containers to life.


However, in autumn, the owner of the building off West Michigan Avenue that Grove Studios was leasing sold the building to another owner, setting the partners on the hunt for a new space.


Grove Studios partner Rick Coughlin says Grove's old building wasn't the perfect fit for what the partners were envisioning. So although the move was done by necessity, it also presented an opportunity.


Coughlin says the separated, isolated rooms in the new space are a better configuration than the two large co-op spaces at the old location. The new location also allows staff to test out its technology around wifi-enabled locks for doors and a coded cloud-based entry system for all members.


The new space is built of solid masonry with sturdy core doors, so very little needed to be done in terms of sound-proofing, Coughlin says. Overall, he says, the new space is a better fit for the founders' vision despite being physically smaller.


"We don't have a performing space like at the old location, but we do have a courtyard, and we're going to build our demo shipping container unit there so people can see the product we've been envisioning for the long term," he says.


Grove Studios is still committed to the shipping container model, but there have been some changes there, as well.


"We're starting to focus on developing our own internal product, rather than relying on a partner company to provide the containers," Coughlin says. "Breck Crandell, our creative lead, is an architect, and with someone with his knowledge base on our team, we think we have the capacity to develop it rather than relying on containers that are already built."


In the time between leaving the old space and opening the new one, Grove Studios hasn't been dormant. The partners have established a community partnership with the Riverside Arts Center (RAC), putting on "Grove Studios Live" concerts that go along with monthly themes at the arts center.


"The partnership we have built with Riverside Arts Center is very symbiotic in nature," says Grove Studios partner Erich Friebel. "Riverside wanted to up their game on being able to present top-notch music events, but they're not necessarily music performance producers. We took this as an opportunity to try our hand at bringing a community of musicians together from all genres and walks of life."


The next Grove Studios Live performance is called "Every Woman has a Story," in honor of Women's History Month. Friebel says the event will combine not only music and art, but will also feature local food and body care vendors, a fashion runway, and DJ sets. It takes place March 24 at 7 p.m. at RAC.


Coughlin notes that there are still openings at the new space, and any interested creative types in the Ypsi area are welcome to stop by and get a tour.


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at


Photos courtesy of Grove Studios.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.