Thursday, November 11, 2010

Local Paper Interview Yellow Door

Photo by David Schreiber

The new Yellow Door Art Market in downtown Berkley is holding its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 13. Owner April McCrumb, pictured here, recruited 70 local artists to showcase their work inside the 3,600-square-foot shop.

By Jeremy Selweski
C & G Staff Writer

BERKLEY — The city is getting a major infusion of local talent this month with the addition a new business that will showcase the work of dozens of Michigan artists and crafters all under one roof.

On Nov. 13, the Yellow Door Art Market will hold its grand opening at 3141 W. 12 Mile Road in downtown Berkley. Visitors will be greeted by a 3,600-square-foot storefront that is decked out from wall to wall with handmade goods, including jewelry, clothing, photography, handbags, paintings, candles, soap and pottery.

“There are a lot of great artists in this area who are looking for new opportunities to distribute their work other than selling online or at art fairs,” said Yellow Door owner April McCrumb, who also owns the popular Catching Fireflies gift shops in Berkley and Rochester. “Here, they can have their own little space that they can design and market how they want while creating a new outlet for their artwork.”

During a road trip to Asheville, N.C., this past summer, McCrumb and her husband visited several shops that allowed local artists to set up their own permanent mini-gallery. After coming home to Michigan, they were inspired to introduce the concept to metro Detroit.

Using her numerous connections in the local do-it-yourself art scene, McCrumb began recruiting artists for her new store. “I was selling this vision before we had even signed the lease on the building,” she said with a laugh.

In a matter of just five weeks, McCrumb had already found 70 interested artists and filled all the available spaces, and Yellow Door was born. Boasting a colorful and whimsical atmosphere that should be familiar to Catching Fireflies customers, the shop is designed to offer something for everyone who appreciates quirky, homegrown art.

“We wanted to have a mix of different products,” McCrumb explained. “We were trying to find a good amount of diversity and not be oversaturated with any one type of item.”

Yellow Door artists rent out their space by signing three-, six- or 12-month leases. They then can decorate their area as they see fit and are responsible for dictating the prices for all their products.

Sandy O’Brien of Birmingham — who crafts handmade purses, tote bags and accessories under the name Midnight Creations — was one of the first local artists to sign up at Yellow Door. She was so excited to be featured at the shop, in fact, that she made about 400 new items in six weeks to get ready for opening day.

“Yellow Door is one of my first big experiences offline, so it will be really nice to see my products live in a retail setting,” O’Brien said. “I’m a stay-at-home mom, so it can be very difficult for me to get out to a lot of the big art shows. … This is a great way to have your own retail store without having to do any of the legwork. I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of this.”

O’Brien noted that she will be putting about half of her inventory into her Yellow Door display. She believes that shops like Yellow Door may be the wave of the future in the art community.

“It’s so great to be on the ground floor of this amazing new concept,” she said. “I’m guessing that you will start to see more and more of these types of businesses springing up. … So many people who are out of work now are turning to their artistic talents as a second source of income. These days, it’s a lot easier to take control of your own destiny than it is to find a job.”

Marsha Filipiak of Royal Oak is also joining the roster at Yellow Door. A professional stained-glass artist with more than 25 years of experience, Filipiak will be using her display to showcase her new Made by Marsha digital collages, which she creates by manipulating vintage and current photos on her computer.

“I just wanted to get away from the seriousness of my stained-glass work and do something more fun,” she explained. “I like that I can have my own special section, rather than having everything spread out all over the store. It’s like being in an art fair seven days a week, but I can be at home producing while they are selling my stuff for me.”

Although Filipiak has been selling her products at Catching Fireflies for several years now, she is eager to see how the Yellow Door concept will help a self-employed artist like herself. The shop offers vendors much more control over their work than a typical art gallery, she said, and is less competitive than local art fairs.

“Having your own permanent space is such a great thing for a lot of different reasons,” Filipiak said. “I think this idea is really unique and has the potential to be really successful.”

And if Yellow Door does indeed to take off, it will help achieve one of McCrumb’s goals as a business owner by encouraging residents to shop locally and support their neighbors.

“This is meant to be a happy, feel-good shopping experience,” she said. “So far, people are really excited by the idea that they can buy all this great artwork, and all the money they spend is going right back to creative people in the local community.”

For more information on Yellow Door, call (248) 336-2038 or visit

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