Metro Detroit is filled with quaint and unique suburbs, but some get more attention than others. One such place, is Berkeley, which is often over-shadowed by elegant Birmingham, trendy Royal Oak, and Funky Ferndale. Yet Berkley, which Money Magazine named as one of the 50 Best Places to Live back in 2015, is more than worthy of a visit, with some truly enchanting shops like Yellow Door Art Market.
It’s hard to miss this unique space, with its teal awning and trademark yellow door, but what really draws one’s attention is peering in through the windows. There are all these incredible displays, and no two are alike. At 3,600 square feet, the shop has room for the work of over seventy Michigan artists and crafters. Each has freedom to merchandises his/her own space, which is part of what makes the gallery so charming.
Owners April and Steve McCrumb came up with the concept after a visit to Asheville, North Carolina. Already successful entrepreneurs with their popular shop, Catching Fireflies, the pair loved the idea of giving local artists a place to sell their wares while growing their businesses.
According to April, “There is so much talent in our very own backyard, it only makes sense to have a space that showcases it. Our art market is the truest form of shopping local.”
The concept is to give artists their own mini shop to have products regularly available to the public, without them having to worry about opening a business of their own and staffing it. For a reasonable monthly rate, that is similar to doing an art fair, Michigan creatives can sell their work, while concentrating primarily on creating more.
Different leasing rates apply for different types of spaces. There are end caps, walls, tables, and core spaces, depending upon how best to merchandise the selection and quantity of items an artist chooses to sell. Rates vary based on the type of space. All of the items are handmade, and the creators come from around the state, though primarily the Detroit area.
The infamous yellow door opened to welcome customers in 2010, and the place has built a strong following. The website regularly features profiles about the various participating artists, and it is not uncommon to meet one of those creative souls when you pop in to shop. Often they are there to restock or merchandise their own little corner of the space.
“We are lucky enough that artists often find us, said April, “but since we have over seventy spaces we keep rented at all times, we also scout out talent that we feel would be a good fit for our market.”
The work found at Yellow Door is all carefully curated. They make a strong effort to have a wide variety of quality products, yet not saturate the market by having items from different artists that are too similar.
The end result is a phenomenal shopping experience, especially when hunting for great gift ideas. You’ll find locally-themed apparel, pottery, jewelry, and a wide range of home furnishings. It’s almost impossible to walk through and not find at least one item you want to purchase for yourself or someone else. Plus, unlike many traditional retailers, the fact that the products are handmade by artists means that each time you step through the yellow door, the shopping experience a new one.
While in the area, you also can find some thirst-quenching local brews and delicious food at nearby Berkley Common. Be sure to also pop into the McCrumb’s other whimsical gallery, Catching Fireflies and neighboring shop, Peninsulas. Both are home to a lot of Michigan-made products waiting to be discovered.
Yellow Door Art Market is open Mon-Wed 10am-6pm; Thu 10am-8pm; Fri-Sat 10am-6pm; and Sun 12pm-5pm. It is located at 3141 W. Twelve Mile, Berkley, MI 48072.
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