Downtown businesses move around, welcome newcomersPublished 11:00am Monday, February 15, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Frequent visitors to downtown Niles might have noticed things are looking a little different these days.
A handful of Niles businesses are getting a change of scenery, moving into new locations on Main Street and in the downtown area and opening up their old locations to prospective business owners.
Like Berrien Springs’ Bradley Bateman, owner of the up-and-coming Flo N Grow, a new indoor gardening store set to open in March.
Bateman said there is “a great demand to start growing your own food.”
His shop, he hopes, will build off the increase in interest in organic gardening and give people who are interested in gardening year-round a chance to get prepared and learn how to do just that before the next winter season.
“It’s pretty simple, because basically you can grow in soil,” Bateman said.
He plans to sell all the necessities and materials needed for people to start their own indoor gardens. Bateman said he was drawn to Niles because “I’ve been seeing it develop over the last 10 years,” and felt the area was a good fit.
His business venture grows out of his passion for gardening.
Bateman, a Gulf War veteran, is busy finishing up his college education while getting the store ready to open, but seems optimistic.
“I’ve always had a love of gardening,” he said.
The winter months often left him bored and he began experimenting indoors.
“It’s just been one of my passions,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people who do this in Michigan,” Bateman said, adding that the trend has already gained in popularity elsewhere, including California.
“I think in the next five years, I think it’s going to take off,” he said.
When it does, Bateman wants to be ready.
Flo N Grow will carry items like artificial lighting systems and he said customers will likely see a few displays from his own indoor garden.
“We’re trying to be a one stop gardening store,” he said. The target customer, along with those interested in green, sustainable living, “into healthy living and wanting to produce their own food,” he said but also those who enjoy gardening in the warmer seasons and find themselves without their hobby when the snow begins to fall.
When he opens, the target month being March, Bateman said he’ll focus on getting off to a good start – but he hopes to eventually see his business expand.
“I think we’re in a good industry,” he said enthusiastically.
At the very least, one that seems to be growing.
Scott and Jill Roberts, owners of Your Kitchen Connection, will continue their second year in business with a new view, moving to the old Thayer building at 224 and 226 East Main St. from their original location across the street at 225 and East Main.
Also included in the shuffle – the Beauty and Body Wellness Day Spa has moved its location to 22 North Fourth St. and Niles Styles, once located in the front space of that business, will find permanent residence at 224 East Main.
Another new business opening up in Niles is the Kelie Hair Braiding Salon located at 105 East Main. Owner Dede Johnson said she moved her business, which offers hair braiding and African clothing and accessories, from Berrien Springs to Niles and hopes to see it build a customer base in its new home.