Red Raven for sale, Shirley’s Flowers closingPublished 7:05pm Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Cheryl Sherman is trying to sell The Red Raven, and Shirley McQueary is closing Shirley’s Flowers at the end of May, but neither attribute those developments to the downtown business climate.
Sherman opened in May 2010 in an anchor-sized building at 201 S. Front St., whose previous occupants included a Woolworth’s and a movie theater.
Sherman’s husband, Chuck, who worked for Palisades nuclear plant in Van Buren County, is accepting a position with Duke Energy in South Carolina.
“We do OK,” Sherman said Monday. “We knew when we came here, we wouldn’t be here forever.”
Sherman, who phased out clothing to make way for more home furnishings to go with “upcycled” furniture and gift items, operated similar businesses in St. Joseph; Huntsville, Ala.; and upstate New York.
“I’m getting too old to move a whole store and start over again,” said Sherman, who will be staying until the end of June.
Three of her four children will be relocating, too.
Originally from upstate New York, Sherman “fell in love” with her building the first time she drove through town, “just drawn to the laid-back town of Dowagiac.”
She found it easier to attract Chicago resorters than local shoppers.
With several shops that do similar things with furniture, each has its own style, yet they are completely different.
“It also helps that we all work really well together,” Sherman has said.
“I’m doing well,” said Lee Ann Toy, whose Glamour Plus, 210 S. Front St., opened last May 5. I’m pleasantly surprised after one year.”
Toy, a Dowagiac graduate, specializes in women’s plus-size clothing, furniture, antiques, fashion items, collectibles and gifts, which attract customers from Kalamazoo to Elkhart and Mishawaka, Ind.
McQueary opened Shirley’s Flowers on Sept. 1, 2009, in the former Dixon-Livingston Insurance Agency, then moved around the corner to a storefront she rents at 146 S. Front St. in 2010.
“My business was fine,” McQueary said.
McQueary grew up in Mishawaka and lives in Elkhart, where, at 68, she wants to spend more time watching her grandkids play sports. She was a group leader for 25 people who worked almost 30 years for Patrick in Elkhart, then another Elkhart company, CTS, making vehicle sensors.
At Patrick, she made door fronts for recreational vehicle cabinets.
Her flower shop offers holiday gifts and arrangements, guy-friendly theme gifts featuring NASCAR, baseball, football and basketball; silk flower and candle arrangements, wedding arrangements and centerpieces; and cemetery arrangements.
“I make my own stuff,” she said last year. “I like craft stuff and worked in a wood factory, so I started messing around. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 as a hobby.”