Gemini Handmade owners Marie Welcher & Jacob Vroon.

A Fresh Start

From the Grand Rapids Magazine August 2018 issue. Available on newsstands now or via subscription.

After five years of serving the community as Parliament the Boutique, the locally focused boutique shop at 136 S. Division Ave. rebranded as Gemini Handmade in June.

“In many ways, we will still be the same great Parliament — the highest quality of handcrafted goods from local and midwestern, independent makers,” said founder and creative director Elyse Marie Welcher, who co-owns the shop with her husband Jacob Vroon.

“But, the shift in resident artists in the space means we were able to expand the shop significantly and are including more accessibly priced gifts in our curation, as well as a rotating selection of plants and plant-related goods.” The store also is working to define its offerings in private label, wedding and corporate gifts, and wholesale production offerings for other businesses.

Welcher and Vroon’s personal story, in part, inspired the new name. The two were born just two days apart at Grand Rapids’ Butterworth Hospital in June 1988, under the sign of the Gemini. The store, fittingly, re-opened on the couple’s 30th birthday weekend.

“Shifting the name of the store after five years in business, as we move into a new decade of our lives together — it all lined up very perfectly,” Welcher said. “And sometimes, it really is nice when ‘the story’ does tie up with a bow before moving onto the next chapter.”

For more information, visit Gemini Handmade.

*Photo courtesy of Gemini Handmade

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