By Teresa Fata
The Williamston Post
Downtown Williamston is preparing to welcome three new small businesses to the area, two of which are extensions of established small businesses in the area.
Marcie Kay Photography, a photography studio in downtown Williamston, is undergoing construction but is open by appointment.
Studio 47, a painting studio, is gearing up for a March opening.
Blue Button Bakery, owned by the family behind Gracie’s Place, is also getting ready for a March opening.
Blue Button Bakery is an idea that began years ago, when Michigan State University students came to Williamston and conducted a survey about Williamston’s downtown area. The results were clear: citizens wanted a bakery. Dawn-Marie Joseph, both a citizen and owner of many businesses in Williamston, took it upon herself to make that happen.
Joseph says that she wants to see Williamston thrive. In fact, she credits a lot of the success of businesses in downtown Williamston to a niche market: weddings.
“At this time, Williamston has many shops that offer brides and grooms an easy way to shop for their weddings,” said Joseph. “Quite a few of the merchants have banded together in advertising to promote Williamston as your wedding destination.”
Marcie Kay Photography is one of those merchants who, like many businesses in Williamston, specializes in weddings. Hughes, however, picked the location for a different reason.
“I love the downtown Williamston area! It has a very cozy feeling,” Hughes elaborates. “It’s cute and quaint … Williamston is a small town, so I don’t think it attracts large business corporations.”
There are a few citizens who, like Dawn-Marie Joseph, decided to expand their businesses in the Williamston area after experiencing success with their first small business. Two of those business owners, Chantelle Deimling and Jill Rinner, opened their first business in Williamston in 2011, a home décor boutique named Bungalow 47. In late 2014, they expanded to a clothing boutique, 47 Style, and in March 2015, they’ll expand to Studio 47, a painting studio.
Employee Lynne Nyberg credits their rapid expansion to a need for space, noting that when they outgrew their first location, they decided to start expanding from there.
So what is it exactly that helps small businesses thrive in Williamston? When it comes down to it, the business owners credit the small-town community. Joseph said:
“If you know what your neighbor sells, you can help promote their shop… The owners of the businesses in Williamston believe in their products and what they have to offer.”
Hughes takes that sentiment even further, noting, “Williamston residents really take pride in their small town and want to see the downtown businesses succeed.”