Known for its Michigan-made merchandise, one of the most diverse collections of local art is moving to Clinton Township this week with the opening of Art-is-in Market at The Mall at Partridge Creek.
Opening the first Art-is-in Market in 2005, owner Debbie La Pratt said she has been nothing short of amazed by the reception customers have given the store’s Livonia and Novi locations over the past seven years.
“We were going to only be open for two months,” La Pratt said of the first location in Laurel Park Place Mall. “We were pretty bare bones. There were 35 artists’ (works). We had a cash box and a manual MasterCard machine. We did very well and the customers were ecstatic. When we said we were going to be closing the doors in January, they said, ‘You can’t close!’”
And so a three-month extension turned into seven years and a second location in Twelve Oaks Mall in 2010.
“We opened at Twelve Oaks with tremendous success,” La Pratt said. “The holiday season was better than we ever anticipated. Even in this economy, our sales were up 30 percent.”
Then came the opportunity to open a third location in The Mall at Partridge Creek.
“The customers are what keep us going,” La Pratt said. “It’s amazing. You build it and they will come. We’re happy the mall wanted us out here.”
Like its other locations, the Partridge Creek store will feature the works of Michigan artists exclusively, with those same artists doubling as sales associates.
“The unique thing is, our artists will put time in at the store, so you’ll always meet an artist, never an employee,” La Pratt said.
The type of artwork and other merchandise in the store will also change as more artists are added and others add to their portfolios.
“We’re a great community,” La Pratt said of the relationship among artists. “We’re always sharing ideas and willing to help. It’s really a community within a community and it’s fantastic.”
Among La Pratt’s artwork – tiles that she creates using the impression of buildings and other items found in Detroit – the store will sell photography, metal sculptures, wood crafts, clothing, holiday décor, pottery and made-in-Michigan foods.
“It’s so great because it helps the artists have a home for their art,” La Pratt said. “We’ve all done art shows in this kind of weather and it’s hard. There are tons of art shows around, but they are only on the weekends. We get the average personal coming through the store and they know we are always going to be here.”
La Pratt said she is hoping to open on Nov. 1 but will celebrate the store’s grand opening during the mall’s tree lighting ceremony the weekend of Nov. 10-11.
Art-is-in Market will keep mall hours, but close Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. It is located near the mall's center court.
Local artists interested in having the store showcase their work can email the store at firstname.lastname@example.org.