Niles business owner encourages residents to support shopping local

NILES — For the past year and a half, customers that visited downtown Niles’ Resurrections Unique Home Furnishings could find a number of hand painted signatures signs, with quips such as “Always give 100 percent, unless you’re donating blood,” as well as local artisans’ jewelry, pottery and furniture.

But despite the uniqueness of the items, too few customers patronized the business forcing owner John Crothers to make the decision not to renew his lease, he said. The store’s final day will be Dec. 23.

“For the most part, we broke even every month, but that is not why you are in business,” Crothers said.

Getting more foot traffic to the store has been a problem for at least a year, Crothers said. To combat the issue, he tried drawing more customers to the store by hosting community events, such as art shows. However, it was not enough.   

With a heavy heart, Crothers hung a “going out of business sale” sign in his window Nov. 29 and customers immediately responded. A glance around the store Thursday afternoon shows a sparse sales floor, where days before furniture and artwork had filled the space.

“We’ve actually had a really busy December,” Crothers said. “[The items] make great gifts.”

The going out of business sale applies to most of the items, except for artists’ work. At least 50 percent off is offered on the furniture, photography and some select signs.

At his business Thursday, Crothers encouraged people to support their local businesses so that they did not share his same fate.

“We are going out of business and nothing can stop that,” Crothers stated.  “I agreed to do this [story] to remind people that shopping local is important.”

While it may be easier to swing through a drive through every day for lunch, Crothers assured that customers would get a different quality at downtown restaurants. 

“It is obvious that the food made at the local place is made by people who care,” Crothers said. “We need to start thinking about what fast and easy and cheap is doing to our downtowns and our economy. This is what will happen if you don’t. I am not bitter or anything, I just want people to know.”

As a business owner, Crothers said he most enjoyed getting to know his customers, whether crafting them a hand painted sign or helping them to find the perfect in-home décor.

Crothers is considering selling his hand painted signs to other businesses through wholesale.

Crothers graduated from Southwestern Michigan College and earned an associate’s degree in graphic design. Prior to owning Resurrections, he sold his photography at art shows.

Crothers’ girlfriend Vicky Woods also helped at the business and sold revived furniture, giving the shop its namesake: “Resurrections.”

Those wishing to have Crothers create them a handmade sign should make a request before Dec. 13, because the signs take a week to make.

Resurrections Unique Home Furnishings is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. The shop is located at 227 E. Main St. in Niles. For more information, visit

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