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Women dominate retail spaces at 1 Carlton Ave. SE


Fulton Square, a mixed-use development project at 1 Carlton Ave. SE in Eastown, recently welcomed its final retail occupant, MODRN GR. The urban home furnishing boutique joins two other woman-owned businesses, Ada Mae, women’s apparel, and E+L Salon, as well as anchor tenant, Danzon Cubano Eastown, a Cuban street food eatery opening in June. All 47 of the building’s residential units have also been filled.

The three unique, woman-owned businesses hope that the corridor’s walkability and proximity to other shops and restaurants will support their success and the Eastown business district’s continued growth. They also enjoy the synergy of having “fellow” women, business owners as neighbors within the same building.

Katie Lyons-Church“To me, that was a huge selling point. I was determined to be on either Fulton Street or Wealthy [Street],” says Katie Lyons-Church, owner of MODRN GR. “My friend owns the salon next door. Knowing that Ada Mae was also woman-owned was completely appealing. It definitely makes us a force to be reckoned with.”

“Oh my gosh, I think it’s awesome! It feels really good,” adds Jessica Smith, owner of Ada Mae Apparel. “It’s cool to have three, woman-owned businesses right in a row—and probably unusual. I love being a part of that.”

In addition to sharing an address, Lyons-Church and Smith also share aspirations of using their businesses to promote hyper-local products and the makers who create them. Along with new and vintage home furnishings that exemplify many facets of modern style, MDRN GR will feature affordable, original art by local artists.

Jessica Smith“I think a lot of people in their 20s and 30s are scared off by galleries,” Lyons-Church says. “I really want to get college students who are fresh in an apartment or single, working people to buy from a local artist instead of going to Meijer or Target to buy ‘art’ that everybody else has.”

Along with unique, quality, handmade clothing, Ada Mae not only sells jewelry crafted by local artists but also has hosted “Meet the Artist” pop-up shop events.

“There are not many largescale, local clothing designers but the thing that has been easy to find is jewelry makers in town,” Smith says. “If I can find it here, why would I not? I would way rather support somebody I know, have met, or lives around the corner. It’s been really fun.”

Written by Estelle Slootmaker, Development News Editor
Photos courtesy
Colliers International | West Michigan

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