New downtown business to offer custom gifts, home decor

NILES — It’s hard to miss Niles’ newest downtown business.

Painted a vibrant teal, the storefront drew family, friends and eager customers Saturday to watch Kelsey and Will Johns snip through a ribbon and officially open their business’ A Lovely Nest, to the community.

“I am super excited,” Kelsey said. “It has been a lot of work and dedication.”

The Four Flags Chamber of Commerce helped to host the grand opening ceremony Saturday. State Rep. Dave Pagel also attended and presented Kelsey and Will with a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

More than 50 customers in attendance browsed the merchandise which included custom wood work, personalized gifts and home décor as well as furniture. Will, who has a background in contracting, offers custom orders for dining room tables, barn wood mantles, coffee tables and more. Home installation is available at request.

Providing customers with something unique and signature is a big selling point, the new business owners said. 

“We are going to offer a lot of custom gifts and home décor — that’s how we got our start,” Kelsey said. “So we can personalize shirts, onesies, coffee mugs and signs.”

The couple lives in Niles and both have family roots in Michigan. Will, 30, grew up in Niles and is a Brandywine High School graduate, while Kelsey is originally from Breckenridge, Michigan.

While the couple had considered several spots for their business, Kelsey said they were drawn back to the Niles community in their search. When the storefront, which formerly housed Backyards, opened up, she said they felt they had found the right spot.

“It feels good to be part of the community here, where we live,” Kelsey said.

Since late 2015, Kelsey and Will have been growing their business from their Niles home and selling their merchandise on Etsy, Amazon and a multitude of trade shows. But the business quickly outgrew their home offices as customer demand increased throughout the years.

Kelsey and Will also wanted to make A Lovely Nest more than a place to shop.

Every week, Kelsey will help to teach sign making classes. The classes cost $35 and a schedule is available on their Facebook page.

The couple also wanted to use the store as a platform to help their community. Candy bars will be sold at the store and each month the proceeds will go to a different cause. For their first month of business, they will raise funds for the Brandywine lunch program.

“It’s something that I have wanted to do for a long time, but unless you have a storefront, you can’t just ask people for donations online,” Kelsey said. “With the storefront we have that option.”

People will also be welcome to donate money to the cause or suggest a charity. In the months ahead, Kelsey said customers will likely see a fundraiser to support rescue animals. The couple’s dog, Bear, is a rescue animal and they have two rescued cats at home, too.

A Lovely Nest is located at 217 E. Main St. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. They will be closed Sunday and Monday, though that is subject to change. 

Customers will still be able to find merchandise online at the couple’s Etsy page. In the next couple of weeks, the couple plans to create a separate webpage. Until then, merchandise can be found at etsy.com/market/a_lovely_nest.

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