Yours Truly Now Times Two

June 6, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Yours Truly is doubling its business.

Last Thursday marked the grand opening of a new Yours Truly Galleria at 959 Cherry St., the second store in the locally owned and operated "chain" that is located just two doors from the original Yours Truly at 973 Cherry St.

Barb Wright and Susan Walborn own the first YT, and Robert Temple and James Stoner have joined them as partners in the Galleria.

"Our original store is jewelry, cards and gifts, and we have over 30 Michigan artists in it, as well as the manufactured products. Our second store will be based much the same as this one, as far as we have artists who do various artwork," said Wright.

"We have a woodcarver, we have photographers, a water colorist, and someone who does stained-glass mirrors. So it's quite a variety of artists that we have," she added.

The Galleria has roughly twice the space of the original Yours Truly, with the Cherie Inn sitting between the stores. The new location was formerly a laundry service.

"We're landlocked in our original store and can't expand here, but this location is just too good to give up. So we're staying here and, in effect, expanding into the second space," said Wright.

Despite the great location, Yours Truly wasn't able to escape the dreaded but necessary street construction that most neighborhood businesses experience from time to time. Last year, work near and around the intersection of Cherry Street and Lake Drive made it difficult for customers to reach storefronts.

But Wright and Walborn came up with a marketing idea that kept customers coming back during the four-month construction period. Customers on their mailing list and those who came in through the door were given what looked like a business card but was actually a discount card.

"They could come in once every two weeks and get 20 percent off any one product of their choice. We did that from May 1 through the end of August, the time the construction was going on," said Wright.

"We had one gentleman tell us that it was absolutely brutal marketing," she said with a laugh.

The new Yours Truly Galleria hours will be the same as those at Yours Truly: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Both stores will be closed on Mondays.

A key to Yours Truly's success lies in the fact that Wright and Walborn have done their best to stock the shelves with work done by artists in the state. They will continue to do just that at the new Galleria.

"We do have some artists from out-of-state, but most of our artists are from Michigan," said Wright. "You don't have to go very far to find an artist in Michigan — and they find us now."    

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