Jan Wallace

Right up Your Alley relocates to neighboring business

May 20, 2010 // 0 Comments

Shop owners find creative ways to survive economy The majority of new businesses fail, even in a good economy, statistics show. For downtown shop owners, finding an alternative way to keep the doors open proves statistics can be outsmarted. Jan Wallace enjoyed her Right Up Your Alley corner location at Bridge and Squires streets, but had a tough time making expenses meet. When she confided in fellow business owner Polly VonEschen at Baskets in the Belfry that she might have to close her doors, VonEschen offered a surprising alternative: buddy up. On May 1, Wallace opened her “door” to her new store located in a back room at Baskets in the Belfry. “I’m very encouraged,” Wallace said of the reception she’s received by her faithful clients and new ones as well. She had to pare down her floor space from 1,500 feet to a tight 250, but the experience wasn’t as hard as she had thought it would be. “You have to prioritize,” Wallace said. “I had to step back and say, ‘What are the best things that I have to sell?’” With just a short distance from her old front door to her new, Wallace and staff carried plenty of her inventory across the street and down the sidewalk to set up. Larger items they moved by vehicle. Wallace isn’t the first local merchant to find a haven at Baskets. Jeanne Hawkins is owner of The Secret Ingredient, a company she’s owned for about three years. Doing business mostly online, Hawkins set up a storefront presence in Baskets in October 2009, where customers could meet her and look at her products before purchase. She offers Victorian products such as herbal teas and sachets, faerie-themed items, and non-toxic cleaning supplies, and holds teas. She recently organized a tea party for Lena Meijer at Frederik Meijer Gardens. “It wasn’t planned,” said VonEschen of the unusual arrangement. “We’ve been friends for years.” VonEschen said she and Wallace used to talk about business and encourage each other. When Wallace told her she was closing, the offer just popped out. “It wasn’t me. I didn’t even know I was going to say it,” VonEschen described. “It came out of the blue.” Too many chefs may spoil the soup, but […]