Brooklyn retailers trying to stay alive


The story of five local stores

Love your mother. Shop local.

We have heard many people say words to this effect: “When this is all over, I am going to make an effort to help our local businesses.”

Well, you don’t have to wait any longer. Many local businesses, and particularly area retailers, could use an influx of business right now.

This is especially true for some of our downtown Brooklyn shop owners, who offer creative, artistic and even delicious items (think malted milk balls at Village Peddler) for sale. These businesses rely heavily upon on holidays like Mother’s Day to keep their doors open.

While these businesses have been ordered closed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, shop keepers are adjusting. Here is the story of five local shops, and what they are doing to make it through the crisis.

‘Super cute’ Village Peddler Gift Shoppe doing well

“It has gone really well, said Kristy Elrod of Village Peddler Gift Shoppe, shown above, regarding her decision to offer curbside service. Village Peddler Gift Shoppe is located at 118 N. Main on the west side of the square.

“We are selling a lot of hats, because women can’t get their hair done right now,” she said with a laugh. Of course, they also sell Gilbert’s Chocolates, candles and a wide variety of fun and interesting items.

“It is a little different,” said Elrod, of doing so much business over the phone. She notes that she is tied to the computer and phone much more than in the past. While customers cannot come into the store and browse, they can get an idea of what the store offers by visiting their Facebook page and clicking on the photos section here.

“We are also selling a lot Naked Bee hand sanitizer. That has been a big hit right now,” said Elrod. “And candles. And purses. And, believe it or not, beach items. People think that summer is going to get here eventually,” she said.

Regular customers at Village Peddler know about the fun variety of items Elrod offers in her shop.

“They have such an eclectic selection of items from jewelry to clothing to souvenirs to chocolates that are (AMAZING!!!) that you can’t possibly be unhappy in this super cute store. They have something for EVERYONE,” said one customer in a review.

The store is open Monday through Friday 11-3 and Saturday 11-4. Call Kristy at 517 592-802 to place an order.

Kelsey’s Boutiques and Gifts getting new product every day

Kelsey’s offers a variety of apparel, including the popular Lake Girl line, shown in her window in the photo above.

Rene Kullman, owner of Kelsey’s Boutiques and Gifts on the village square, says “we are giving it our best.”

“I have been in business for 21 years, and I told my daughter ‘I am not going to go out like this,’” said Kullman of the state-order that has shut down the economy, and especially hurt mom and pop stores.

Like other downtown Brooklyn businesses, Rene is offering curb-side service, and will bring items out to customers to look over. “We are staying safe,” she noted.

She said that right now, more than ever, people need to shop locally. “It is the small shops that sponsor your kid’s soccer team or your girl’s ballet,” said Kullman.

She noted that people can window shop at her store, which is located at 122 N. Main St. in the village, or get online. “I have many items in the window right now,” she said. And, she will roll an entire rack outside for people to look at, offering hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing. The store is open from 11 to 3 Wednesdays through Saturdays. Contact them at 592-5032, or check out some fun items from Kelsey’s on their Facebook page here.

Want fresh flowers? Just pick up the phone

Above are Angel’s Angels: From left, Shania Albertson, Samantha Daglow and Trisha Chamberlain. The employees of Angel’s Floral Creations are ready to make you or your mother a special bouquet, which they will deliver. The girls all said they were smiling for the picture, but, frankly, it is hard to tell.

Angels Floral Creations is open for business, but, like other downtown shops, not yet to walk-in customers. And while their inventory is limited due to the government shut down, they can still make a fun creation for your mother or significant other.

“A lot of [flower] growers are closed,” said Trisha Chamberlain, who helps manage the store. “But we do have one local grower, Abby Baldwin of Brooklyn,” she noted. “We like to do as much local business as possible.

While the inventory is not what some customers have come to expect from this small but fabulous flower shop, Angel’s employees excel at matching flowers and creating memorable bouquets.

Chamberlain said that anyone wanting fresh flowers can get them by calling (517) 592- 9270. She said that right now, the website does not necessarily reflect what they have in stock, so it is best to call. And, Angel’s delivers.

Four French Hens showcasing products online

Kim Weatherwax of Four French Hens noted that since reopening their store, customers have been helpful.

“They are really anxious to help,” said Weatherwax, adding that small stores really can use the boost right now. “This last week has been really good. I have heard over and over that people want to shop locally.”

Like other stores, Four French Hens, which is located at 124 North Main, is offering curbside pickup, while showing their products on their Facebook page, which can be seen here.

Weatherwax said that they are not keeping regular hours, and the best way to contact them is by private messaging from their Facebook page.

Right now customers would be surprised to see the inside of the store, which is normally neatly organized. “We have been moving things around to take pictures,” said Weatherwax.

The best way to contact her is to visit their Facebook page and send a message.

Corner Cottage reopens, grateful for support

Michelle Malarney, the owner of Corner Cottage at 107 Monroe Street (across from Weatherwax Drug Store, next to the former Spot building) has reopened for business, offering curbside service to customers looking to spruce up their homes or treat themselves to something fun.

“It is different,” said Malarney of doing business this new way. Like other boutiques and stores, she has posted many photos of items for sale on her Facebook page.

Corner Cottage Home Décor has a collection of unique gift items as well as home decorating ideas.

“I really want to thank those people who are supporting us, and to remind people to shop locally,” said Malarney. “People have been really, really generous.”

Her store has many items perfect for Mother’s Day. Contact her at (517) 938-8487, or visit their Facebook page here to see some of their offerings. The store is open from 11 to 3 Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Note: There are many local businesses that are open. Take a minute and give them a call.

The Evening Snapshot is provided by The Exponent. It is being posted regularly as we go through the coronavirus issue at Please, bookmark the site and share. If you have a news tip or topic you would like to see highlighted in the paper or on, contact us at If you have a photo you would like to share, send to along with a brief explanation and contact information.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh. 8:10

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