New owners reopen Gwen Frostic print shop in Benzonia

Since the early 1950s, a stop at Gwen Frostic's linoleum-block print shop for her handmade cards, papers and books was imperative if you were anywhere near the Frankfort area. The artist moved to a wildlife sanctuary on the Betsie River in 1964, and that's where her studio and shop remained, even after her death in 2001.

Then the company fell on hard times, went into foreclosure, and closed for good last fall. It was feared that this world-renowned wildlife artist and Michigan Women's Hall of Famer's legacy would be lost forever.

Enter Kim Forshee, the former marketing manager, who with her husband, Greg, rescued the business, rehired 13 of the original employees, including Bill Frostic, the artist's nephew, and reopened May 22. "Her legacy had to go on," says Kim, who worked at the company two and a half years. "We will call more employees back by the end of June or early July."

Besides the retail shop, Gwen Frostic LLC is a booming wholesale, online and fall-catalog business. It is housed in a deceivingly large 23,000-sq.-ft. building with a warehouse. Forshee and her husband, who run a manufacturing company in Frankfort called DAMB Mold Base, know what they're getting into, and even though this year's startup in restocking the products has been hectic, they're ready for the challenge.

"Everything will stay the same," Forshee guarantees. "We will introduce some new products with her art, but we're going to be very careful."

Writer: Patty LaNoue Stearns
Source: Kim Forshee   

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