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Surprises Abound at Mount Clemens Vintage Boutique

Surprises Abound at Mount Clemens Vintage Boutique

Surprises Abound at Mount Clemens
Vintage Boutique

30

JANUARY 2020

BY REBECCA CALAPPI

LBN Community Series

Mount Clemens

There’s nothing ho-hum about Max & Ollie’s Vintage Boutique in downtown Mount Clemens. From the array of throw-back merchandise to the owner, the store is chock-full of pleasant surprises.

Diane Kubik has owned Max & Ollie’s for 15 years, but the whole thing was a bit of an accident. Her sister saw the empty storefront just around the corner from where the store is now located. The deal was, Diane would put up the money and her recently unemployed sister would run the shop. When the sister was unexpectedly called back to work, Diane, then a stay-at-home mom of five, found herself in an unfamiliar position.

DIANE KUBIK

DIANE KUBIK

OWNER, MAX & OLLIE'S

“I could get diapers snowy white, but I knew nothing about vintage, antiques or running a business,” Kubik said.

When Max & Ollie’s first opened, Kubik’s youngest sons and the store’s namesakes, Max and Ollie, were 6 and 8 years old. Originally, the store was evenly split between crafts and vintage, but keeping up on the crafting was unrealistic, so Kubik converted over to strictly vintage.

“We had just one goal: Keep the doors open,” said Kubik. “We just filled the shop with things we loved. We’re not a high-end store and we don’t want to be. We want people to buy things that are fun. People come in and reminisce and relive memories, and we hear a lot of, ‘My grandma had that.’”

Within six years, Max & Ollie’s had outgrown its 300-square-foot space. When a larger space opened on Macomb Place eight years ago, Kubik made the move.

The store is beautifully organized and displayed in a manner not typical for vintage stores. Instead of stacks of dishes and piles of knick-knacks, Kubik thoughtfully arranges her wares. Kitchen and home goods are on one side of the store, while the clothing is on the other.

“The biggest part of that is to make people fall in love with things. Keep it clean, keep it neat keep it fun,” she said. “My strong background was crafting, but it really ended up that creative problem-solving was my strongest. You have to get really creative with the solutions and it worked out OK.”

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Customers can find anything from costume jewelry and clothing to kitchenware and linens at Max & Ollie’s.

“Aprons are a huge seller,” said Kubik. “We sell the sheer aprons for when something other than dinner is cooking. Valentine’s is coming!”

 

In addition to the unique merchandise, Kubik likes to make a visit to her store an experience.  Her dynamic personality comes through in conversation. To each customer, she offers freshly baked cookies right out of a toaster oven next to the cash register.

You can also find Kubik in other shops in downtown Mount Clemens, helping with displays or giving a bit of business advice. It’s just the kind of person she is.

“We’ve morphed a lot over the years, but the thing I wanted to be most is fun,” said Kubik. “We managed to hold it through the toughest economy since the Depression. My favorite part has got to be the customers. I love the stuff, but the people have been incredible. It’s been an adventure. It’s the greatest job ever.”

Max & Ollie’s is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Closed Monday.

65 Macomb Place
Mount Clemens, MI 48043
586.868.3092

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Soothe Your Sweet Tooth at Pops’ Sweets an Treats

Soothe Your Sweet Tooth at Pops’ Sweets an Treats

Sooth Your Sweet Tooth at Pops’ Sweet an Treats

13

DECEMBER 2019
BY REBECCA CALAPPI

LBN Community Series

Mount Clemens

Michael Carpinski, 45, isn’t ready to grow up, and he’s not going to, either. He’s also eschewing low-sugar, fat free, dairy free and gluten free. When you come to his candy and sweet shop, you better be ready for the real deal.

Carpinski is the owner of Pops’ Sweets an Treats in downtown Mt. Clemens. The store, much like its owner, is full of surprises.

MICHAEL CARPINSKI

OWNER, POPS’ SWEETS AN TREATS
“I did the store for people to have fun. It’s nice to have people come in here cranky and leave with a smile,” Carpinski said. “For me, there’s no money in the world for that. Candy is the one thing we all have to connect with.”

Pops’ Sweets an Treats is a child’s candy dream come true. The store is full of all the confections from childhood and features ice cream, Slush Puppies (the real ones, not the knock offs) and grab-and-go food such as walking tacos and kielbasa.

“With my stuff, you can walk around downtown, or you can sit here, have lunch, grab some candy. We’re a one little stop shop for everything,” Carpinski said.

With more than 400 bulk candies available at any time, customers can get lost in Pop’s.

“I love my old candies,” said Carpinski. “I like the idea of the things I created myself just from experience and feedback.”

Carpinski has a lot of experience and many memories from which to draw inspiration. His memories stem from making the rounds with Pops, his grandfather, who was a father figure to him.

Growing up was rough for Carpinski. At 13, he became a ward of the state and Pops decided to take him in. He lived with Pops and his grandmother, raising him as their own.

“They were my rock. They were the ones who showed there was actually someone out there who loved me. This is my way of giving back,” said Carpinski.

Pops was a popcorn machine repairman who supplied places such as the Fox Theater, the Silverdome and Olympia Entertainment. Carpinski would ride along on Pops’ rounds.

“Those were the best times,” he recalled. “I would go during the summers with him to work. We did the first Wrestlemania. As I got older, I appreciated all those times.”

From those adventures, Carpinski owns one of the oldest cotton candy machines and popcorn machines.

As he got older and Pops passed away, Carpinski owned and operated a landscaping business, which he started in his 20s with a push mower and a weed whip in the back of his car. More than 17 years later, he had a dream about opening a candy store in honor of Pops.

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His first try was a store in Richmond, in northern Macomb County, where he gave penny candy a go for three years beginning in October 2016. Things didn’t work out as he hoped, but after seeing the storefront where Pops’ Sweets now resides, he decided to give it another try.

Pops’ Sweets opened in downtown Mt. Clemens in April 2019. This time, instead of penny candy, Carpinski decided to go with retro sweets instead.

The result is a sugary trip back in time combined with the next “it” experience to offer customers. Unicorn tacos, made-fresh waffle cones and flash-freeze ice cream are all top sellers.

“Taco shell, cotton candy burrito, cotton candy to order, things like that make us different,” Carpinski said.

Pops’ Sweets is a family affair. Carpinski’s son, Michael, 15, also works in the store.

“Hopefully, this will be an experience for him like I had with my father [Pops],” said Carpinski.

More than candy to Carpinski, Pops’ Sweets is a chance at redemption.

“I just figure giving back and doing the right thing is important,” he said.

90 Macomb Pace
Mount Clemens, MI 48043
586.430.1638

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Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Book Store: Where Quirky and Comfort Collide

Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Book Store: Where Quirky and Comfort Collide

Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Bookstore: Where Quirky and Comfort Collide

07
NOVEMBER 2019
BY REBECCA CALAPPI
LBN Community Series
Mt. Clemens
Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Book Store is as interesting as it sounds.

Husband-wife team Davey and Lisa Taylor opened the store nearly eight years ago. Originally, it was located a block over from its current Macomb Place location. More than five years ago, the Taylors wanted to expand and the storefront they have now was available. The move made sense.

“We were a bookstore first,” said Davey. “I opened up Weirdsville in the back room, which was about 350 square feet. I started out being a weird store. I used to own a prop house that supplied TV shows and horror movies. Gov. Snyder took the movie business away, and so went the business.”

DAVEY & LISA TAYLOR

OWNERS, WEIRDVILLE RECORDS & PAPERBACK WRITER BOOKSTORE
Lisa was a long-term employee of the now defunct Borders book chain. The idea for Paperback Writer came in the wee hours of the morning.

“Lisa woke up at 4 a.m., and said, ‘When we both wake up, tell me if this is a good idea,’” said Davey.

Lisa is a self-proclaimed lover of books.

“We sell quality used books with a smattering of new classics and local authors. I try to get a little something for everyone. I don’t want to say it’s curated, but it’s well thought-out,” she said. “I’ve always been a reader. I taught myself how to read via Sesame Street. I used to get caught under the covers reading books.”

Then, when a friend closed his record store, Davey bought out the inventory and fulfilled a life-long dream of opening a record store. Weirdsville Records was born.

Shoppers can find a wide variety of vinyl from genres such as surf to metal and everything in between. Additionally, Weirdsville is home to one of the only internet radio stations within a record store.

“My partner in the prop house company, Bret Donnelly, said we need to do something in the store that is more unique,” said Davey. “Now, we can actually say we’re the only one that has an internet radio station. It’s vinyl only.”

Shows are archived at Weirdsvillerecords.com, where music lovers can listen live or browse past shows.

Davey does Davey’s Surfin’ Garage Show, which is surfing and garage rock, and he has plans to do a big Halloween show.

“Last year I did, ‘War of the Worlds,’ at the exact same time that it broadcast in 1938,” said Davey.

Joe Genest, known to Weirdsville listeners as, “Rick Stark,” has a monthly radio show.

“I do a ‘rock and roll’ show, but there’s a lot that fits under that umbrella,” said Genest. “I’ll play 50s and 60s early rock, Motown, classic rock, 80s punk and new wave, hair bands, alternative and grunge, and even some newer rock. I also try to make sure I give Detroit rock some love. There’s so many great Detroit artists that radio in our area has forgotten –Adrenalin, The Rockets, MC5, The Rationals, etc. – and I want to make sure that their great music lives on, even if it’s on a little internet radio show.”

Genest did his first broadcast in November 2018. He calls himself a “music geek,” so the allure of a vinyl only show was a major draw for him.

“It’s important to me that the show is vinyl,” Genest said. “In this day and age of streaming service playlists, it’s nice to have something that’s organic and true to the roots of music. Plus, it’s way more fun to operate turntables and cue up songs than it is to click a file on a computer.”

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In addition to selling music and books, Davey also repairs turntables and guitars. And because he’s an amateur actor, he puts on Weirdsville Cinema during the winter months.

“It’s where B movies are king,” said Davey. “People pay $5, for fresh popcorn from the machine, a bottle of pop and a seat. We never tell people to shut up or be quiet in our theater. That’s the kind of movies I like, with horrible, bad acting. We start in October and go until April.”

While Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer is Lisa’s full-time job, Davey’s career is as a chemist for Hagopian. He’s done color repair on rugs for 25 years.

As the holidays approach, Lisa and Davey are hoping to add quirky gift ideas to their stock of records and books, scratching that itch for shoppers who want something unusual under the tree.

For the Taylors, what started from a dream became reality—a delightfully quirky store that’s comfortable, interesting and full of surprises.

61 Macomb Place
Mt. Clemens, MI 48043
586.468.2665

weirdsvilledetroit.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nest Collaborative: Women Focused Business the Perfect Place to Buy a Gift

The Nest Collaborative: Women Focused Business the Perfect Place to Buy a Gift

The Nest Collaborative: Women-Focused Business the Perfect Place to Buy a Gift

14

AUGUST 2019
BY REBECCA CALAPPI
LBN Community Series
Mount Clemens

Looking around The Nest Collaborative, whimsy and quirk are combined with cutting-edge style and creativity. Felted trolls, hand-mined jewelry and richly scented soaps are just a few of the items that keep shoppers’ eyes moving around this downtown Mt. Clemens store.

However, The Nest Collaborative isn’t just a shopping experience. It’s a learning opportunity for women entrepreneurs.

LORI BARTONE

MANAGER, THE NEST COLLABORATIVE

“The hope was to provide a retail location where an individual could come in with something that was unique to their creative experience, knew they wanted to sell, but didn’t have the resources to go out on their own. The hope was to give them some exposure, so they can get some experience,” said Stephen Staph Jr., owner, The Nest Collaborative.

According to manager Lori Bartone, the timing and message of the store was perfect.

“Most of the businesses in this particular area are women-owned,” said Bartone. “Stephen, in keeping with what was going on, thought that a women-based business would be a good fit for what is already going on down here. It’s a nice community situation.”

Diane Kubik is the owner of Max & Ollies, which is across the street from The Nest. She was part of the team that built the collaborative and still mentors the entrepreneurs.

“The first this is, I think it’s really important to help women realize they can do this,” said Kubik. “I started with absolutely no knowledge when we opened the shop. I learned in such a different way. I learned in the school of hard knocks, so I want to teach these women to do it with their own spin and to have the balls to do it.”

The store opened Nov. 1, 2019, with eight sellers. Some of the ladies were retired and just wanted to sell what they made, others were trying to launch careers. The combination was perfect.

“The older ones, who are retired, can teach the young ones, and the young ones can teach the older ones about Instagram and social media,” Bartone said.

The Nest Collaborative works by renting space to the ladies. “There’s a split from what they earn versus what they pay to stay here,” explained Bartone. “We’re trying to get out there, trying to help Mt. Clemens, trying to help these women.”

Bartone is enthusiastic when she gives tours around the store, almost as if she’s bragging about her own children. She knows the backstories, origins and muses behind the ladies who showcase their work at the store. Explaining that to create the jewelry in this display, the artist travels all over to mine the precious rocks and gems she then polishes and sets to perfection.

 

 

Proudly, she explains that the felted trolls are all handmade, down to the little, sculpted toes. Reveling in the scent of her favorite handmade soap, it’s easy to see that she has a stake in the success in each of these women.

“It’s been a privilege for me to be with these women and to see their hopes and dreams. That’s a big bonus, if they get to go into their own businesses. The hope is they go out with enough confidence,” she said.

 

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Bartone and the other mentors also coach the ladies on presentation and product displays and other learning opportunities.

“We teach problem solving, try to remain calm, the issue is the issue,” said Bartone. “How are you going to solve it? When you go out on your own, it will be 80 hours a week. What do we have to offer you? What are your questions, what are your needs?”

Other female business leaders in the area have joined in to help.

“We have this established core of female business owners, so we can kind of hitch on to that and hope the existing sorority could be role models of the new ladies coming to town,” said Staph.

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In addition to providing a springboard for female entrepreneurs, The Nest Collaborative was also meant as a way to help revitalize an ailing downtown.

“I’ve been involved in my father’s agency since 1983,” Staph recalled. “I came to this town as a kid, saw it during its more vibrant retail days and for the last 10 or 11 years, served on the Downtown Development Authority board. We desperately had a need to get some more attraction down here.”

 

Staph knew the space was available, so he took it. A bit of remodeling to give the vendors a blank slate to work on, and The Nest Collaborative was born.

“If you look about the store, you see a variety of items. I just wanted to have a bright available space,” said Staph. “I wanted to make it as user-friendly as possible.”

While shoppers will probably never find the same thing twice in the store, it’s a treasure trove of gift ideas and inspiration.

But it’s also a little something more.

“It’s the beginning of their dream and where they’re going to go,” said Bartone.

 

66 Macomb Place
Mt Clemens, MI 48043
586-738-0780
nestmountclemens.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fashion Factory is Bringing Back Old-School Skills

The Fashion Factory is Bringing Back Old-School Skills

The Fashion Factory is Bringing Back Old-School Skills

08

AUGUST 2019

BY REBECCA CALAPPI

LBN Community Series
Mount Clemens

When Toni Davison’s daughter was little, she was a fashionista. As a 4-year-old, the little girl would draw dresses and design fashion. As she got older, Davison taught her to hand-stitch, and then make doll clothes. But it wasn’t enough.

“She said, ‘No I want to sew something for me,’” recalled Davison.

TONI DAVISON

OWNER, THE FASHION FACTORY

The pair looked around for sewing classes, but those offered at big-box stores frequently got canceled, and those in smaller venues didn’t take the lessons far enough. As the daughter of a seamstress and a professional behind the sewing machine in her own right, Davison decided to do something about the deficit.

She had been working as a paraprofessional first in the Macomb Intermediate School District, then with L’Anse Cruise Schools, but after the death of her mother, going back to her job just didn’t feel right.

With the encouragement of her husband, Darrell Davison, she launched her business, The Fashion Factory.

“We started at our house with four sewing machines,” said Davison. “Literally at the beginning, it was her [daughter’s] friends. We kept getting more and more kids. We’re now at 20 sewing machines.”

Going into business for herself wasn’t an easy decision.

“At first I was super afraid,” she recalled. “I’m going to take our family money and purchase these sewing machines and I’m not really sure it’s going to work out. To me, that was a big ask.”

Davison grew her business by taking sewing machines to scouting groups and after-school programs. Soon, she was looking for commercial space and settled in downtown Mt. Clemens on Cherry Street.

“I like the downtown area, I wanted a quirky space. It’s very unique down here,” she said.

It is. Snuggled on a pedestrian-only stretch, The Fashion Factory is a crafty diva’s dream. Because the store hosts summer camps, semester-long classes and workshops, the entry looks more like a living room. A big couch, a large crafting table and wire palm trees add the “quirk” Davison wanted. Further through, there’s a long room dedicated to sewing and fashion shows.

“Primarily, students learn to sew here. During the school year, we teach traditional sewing. We also teach about fashion illustration,” said Davison. “I like to find unique ways for them to stretch themselves.”

 

Classes are available beginning at age 7, according to Davison. “I like to tell people 7-107,” she said.

She’s also expanded The Fashion Factory offerings to include online classes. Schedules are so busy, it might be hard to fit sewing lessons in. Now, students receive a box full of the supplies they need for their projects and when they sign on to the lesson, they’re greeted by a live instructor, so if there are any questions, they can be addressed.

 

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“I’m hoping this is helpful,” said Davison. “What we hear from parents all the time is the daughter has a sewing machine but hasn’t taken it out of the box. We offer the online learning platform as a way to get those sewing machines out of the box and start using them.”

Rachel Rice’s daughter, Hudson Rice, has been a student at The Fashion Factory for two years. Rice discovered Davison’s business when a friend tagged her in a social media post.

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“She started with a poncho at this four-hour class, and she wore the poncho every day for probably six months,” said Rice.

Hudson was hooked.

Since then, she’s been to camps, workshops and more at The Fashion Factory, and even went on a fashion tour in New York City this summer with Davison.

 

“Sewing helps her to get her creativity out and make something to feel proud of. And I think Miss Toni makes something relatable, even if they are not simple,” said Rice. “She really likes them to push the envelope and work to their full potential and that’s been wonderful as a parent to watch somebody do that.”

54 Cherry St.
Mt Clemens, MI 48043
586-549-3274
fashionfriendsandfun.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chaos Studio Salon is More Soothing than it Sounds

Chaos Studio Salon is More Soothing than it Sounds

Chaos Studio Salon is More Soothing than it Sounds

17
JULY 2019

BY REBECCA CALAPPI

LBN Community Series
Mt. Clemens
In an old building in downtown Mt. Clemens is a shabby-chic beautification place called Chaos Studio Salon.

Owner Jenn Case-Magri, 39, recognizes the irony in the name of her salon. After all, she wanted to create a place where clients could feel comfortable and at peace.

“The name was the easy part. I was living in Virginia and walked into a store. It was the coolest store I had ever seen. I remember saying if I ever opened a salon, I’d name it Chaos,” said Case-Magri.

JENN CASE-MAGRI (l) & JESSICA SAVAGE (r)

OWNER & MANAGER, CHAOS STUDIO SALON
And she did.

Case-Magri was 25 years old and had the thought to open her own salon, someplace different where clients felt comfortable and the atmosphere was informal.

“I never wanted to own my own salon. I just wanted to do hair. I found the building on New Street and saw potential. I thought maybe I could do this,” she said. “I was inspired by the thought of having something different. Having an experience that was different for people. Just feeling comfortable.”

With a business degree and her certificate from beauty school, Case-Magri opened Chaos nearly 14 years ago — without taking a loan. She did it by “saving every time I got a tip. I saved and saved,” she said.

The first Chaos Studio Salon opened on New Street. It was a second-floor business, which limited customers with disabilities. Seven years ago, Case-Magri rented a three-floor building across the street from the Anton Art Center. With her father’s help, they renovated the new building and made Chaos what it is today.

Walking in the doors of Chaos, clients are greeted warmly. Work stations are situated close together to encourage conversation among clients and stylists.

“I feel like when you go into a salon, you can only talk to your stylist. It’s not like that here. I feel like we’re sorority sisters,” said Case-Magri.

Salon manager Jessica Savage feels like everyone who works there has a stake in what Chaos Studio Salon is. When Case-Magri and her dad were renovating, they weren’t alone.

“It’s personal. It’s personal for all of us because we all put effort into this building. We all came, we all painted,” Savage recalled.

Now, clients come to Chaos for a variety of beauty treatments including haircuts/style, color, highlights, makeup, hair extensions, eyelash extensions, facial waxing and microblading.

Maralyn McNally has been a client at Chaos for 15 years. “I believe that hair is art. The styling, the coloring, the getting it right, that’s an artform to me. They are hair artists, not just hair dressers,” she said. “One of the best parts is when they shampoo your hair, you get the head and neck massage. I start thinking about that the day before I come.”

Beyond beauty, Case-Magri focuses on educating and training her team.

“We’re a national educator for Paul Mitchell. As educators we are known in the Paul Mitchell world. Chaos has a good name. We work very hard for that reputation, to uphold it,” said Case-Magri. “We train every single month as a team. We’re very big on education and training. We’re not just about being the best of the best, but staying the best of the best.”

As a client, McNally has noticed that training makes a difference in service.

“They [the stylists] have learned from her and learned from going to the classes. They’re the best at matching you up with the stylist. You can call them or go there, and they can assess the best person to fit your needs,” she said.

The shabby-chic look of Chaos feels true to the original decades-old building. Wood from her mother’s barn makes up the wall in the area where ladies can learn to style their wigs. An exposed brick fireplace recalls a time when it was needed for heat.

While Case-Magri hasn’t been able to find the exact age of the building, she has heard from passersby that it was originally a hospital.

“They think it was the original Macomb Hospital or Mt. Clemens Hospital,” said Case-Magri. “People come here all the time and want to see the building because they were born here. The fireplace here has chalk paint still on it, which is from who knows how long ago.”

But perhaps one of the things that makes Chaos stand out is the low stylist turnover, and because of that, the team feels more like family to each other and to clients.

“We go by the Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’” said Case-Magri. “Trust and respect are two very, very big things here. And love. We literally love each other. We’ve been together a long time.”

Savage agrees. “I love the girls. They’re not just workers, they’re my friends,” she said. “I love the variety of clientele we have. It just works. It’s crazy, but everything just runs so smooth. We offer so many different services and I love that because it keeps you on your toes.”

Chaos Salon Studio
116 Macomb Place
Mt Clemens, MI 48043
586.465.2278

chaosstudiosalon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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