Local crafter to open popup holiday store in Dowagiac

Published 8:24 am Friday, October 16, 2015

Another downtown craft store is ready to blossom to life, just in time for the holidays.

Dowagiac’s Emily Hunter will soon be opening the doors of her new holiday popup store, Auntie Em’s, located in the former storefront of Laurie Anne’s/Makenzie Nicole’s on the lower level of the Masonic Lodge at 122 S. Front St. The temporary storefront will feature a selection of fall, holiday and New Years themed artificial floral arrangements, along with fabricated Christmas wreathes and other decorative crafts.

Customers will be able to purchase pre-completed decorative arrangements or can have custom ones created on-site for them by Hunter and her staff. Customers choosing this option can choose a base and the types and colors of flowers they would like, Hunter said.

A native and longtime resident of Dowagiac, Hunter has been creating floral arrangements for the last several years, since retiring from her more than 20-year career as a hair stylist with The Mane Attraction (located next door to Auntie Em’s). She parlayed her experience creating decorations for weddings and other gatherings into her new outlet, she said.

“I just get into this creative stuff, I guess,” she said.

Teaching Hunter the tricks of the trade was a longtime friend and former classmate, Gregg Greenwood. The two began working together after they both created centerpieces for their class reunion several years ago; after that, she began helping him create his expansive arrangements, which he sold out of his home, she said.

Tragically, in August, Greenwood died at the age of 67, leaving Hunter with his remaining materials and creations, many of which she will be selling in her new store, she said.

“I wanted to do this for him, and to use some of the beautiful things he left me,” Hunter said.

While the crafter has been selling her wares out of Dowagiac’s Hidden Treasures marketplace since spring, Hunter has always been attracted to the idea of owning her own store — though weary of the time investment required to run one full-time, she said. The opening of another temporary Christmas store, Peddler’s Market, last year gave the Dowagiac woman the inspiration to try and open her own popup business this season, as she began working with DDA and Chamber of Commerce Program Director Vickie Phillipson to find a place to set up shop.

“[The store] lends itself to the holidays,” Hunter said. “People are more interested in flower arrangements like this around Christmas.”

The recent relocation of Makenzie Nicole’s to Edwardsburg presented Hunter with the opportunity she’d been waiting for, and she quickly worked out a lease with The Masonic Lodge to use the space for the next couple of months.

In addition to giving customers a jolt of color in their homes in time for the holidays, Hunter’s crafts will naturally last a lot longer than actual organic flowers, and with proper care can last for years, the owner said.

“Flowers always make your house look like a party,” she said.

Hunter is hoping to open the new store on or before Nov. 1. Auntie Em’s will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., through Jan. 1.