By Laura Dwyer Schlecte & Jacqueline Austin, Think Jackson, LLC
We have all heard and realize the importance of shopping local. You hear it all of the time … “buying local boosts the local economy” … “shopping at locally-owned stores puts more money back in your community” … “supporting local business creates jobs”. Ask anyone who knows the history of shopping downtown Jackson and you will be regaled with stories about Jacobson’s and Field’s department stores, the experience of dressing up to walk store-to-store, and the hustle and bustle of the city.
But, that “experience” has been missing lately. With all of this in mind, four years ago, we decided to do something to reverse the trend, opening a holiday “pop-up” marketplace called ARTitude. The nature of a pop-up shop is that it takes advantage of an underutilized vacant space for a short period of time to create activity and generate excitement. ARTitude offers artists the opportunity to join the downtown Jackson community by creating a mini-storefront for the holiday season. We offer extended business hours that push the boundaries of what shoppers had become accustomed to, staying open late on weekdays and on the weekends. This year, ARTitude is located in the Christian Science Building at 416 Wildwood Ave. on the west end of Downtown Jackson.
The success of ARTitude gave us the opportunity to work with the Jackson County Tower Building to add retail space on their first floor and we opened The Orange Peacock Gallery in February 2015. Again we wanted to make high-quality, original artwork available to those shopping in Jackson. The Orange Peacock Gallery is open 6 days a week, year-round with a wide variety of art and gifts. For the 2017 holiday season, we have expanded, yet again, by opening The Orange Peacock at Ella Sharp Museum. We have partnered with the museum to create a shop that has original artwork and Ella Sharp Museum related gifts.
Shopping local is more than just “good for the community”, it is also fun as you have the chance to find a unique, one-of-a-kind gift for everyone on your list. Make it a point to visit The Orange Peacock Gallery, ARTitude and The Orange Peacock at the Ella Sharp Museum to find artwork from over 60 artists!
Laura Dwyer Schlecte and Jacqueline Austin are a mother-daughter team dedicated to community development and the revitalization of Jackson. They are focused on making Jackson, Michigan a place you want to live, work, play and stay. www.ThinkJacksonMI.com