We're Moving- to 963 Cherry St SE!

You’ve probably already heard this from social media and the general grapevine of Grand Rapids, but given that we’ve got less than a week before we leave our current space, it’s official-official:

We’re moving to 963 Cherry St SE!

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We are so dang excited about this move and all that it means for our business!

One, we are beyond thrilled to be joining the East Hills Neighborhood!

Our new space is located at 963 Cherry St SE, in between Under the Vine Wines and the Cherie Inn. Cherry Street in East Hills is a vibrant shopping and dining district that has been a crossroads in our city for the last century, connecting downtown Grand Rapids to Eastown and East GR. It’s home to some really fantastic businesses and restaurants too- the legendary Marie Catribs (RIP, the best vegetarian fare in the world), the 80+ years old Cherie Inn, YT Galleria, the Metal Arts Studio, Brewery Vivant, Marie La Mode, Denym, and the Green Well, just to name a handful!

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The neighborhood is perfect, but believe it or not, the space itself is even freaking better! We worked with a wonderful local broker, Joe Rizqallah of Signature Associates, to secure the space, and he was pretty darn rad- he listened to our needs carefully, and through the web of connections that is GR, found us just the right spot!

At approximately 2400 square feet, this spot is going to be a space where our business can grow for years to come. Originally built as a gas station in 1936 after the historic Biltmore Theatre was torn down, it has frontage on both Cherry Street and Lake Drive- we learned from neighbors that there were gas pumps on both sides of the building at one point! It has since been added onto, and given that there are multiple rooms for the space, it was a tough one to rent until we came along. For us, it’s perfect- we have 740 Square Feet of dedicated retail space on the Cherry St side, as we as a large main workspace, an office/kitchen, and a dedicated sewing gallery on the Lake Drive side.

All that said, the space needed a lot of work- there was a fire in it earlier this year due to a maintenance accident, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Old drywall, non-loading bearing walls that cut up the space, and bad industrial carpet that were all damaged in the fire revealed amazing details, which we’ll be sharing in our next blog post! But here, a sneak peak of what’s to come!

the original tile wall and window of the gas station when it was built in 1936, before the front room addition, with handpainted murals from its next iteration as a fish-fry place!

the original tile wall and window of the gas station when it was built in 1936, before the front room addition, with handpainted murals from its next iteration as a fish-fry place!

We can’t wait to see you all at the new shop so soon! Save the following dates to get all the handcrafted your heart can hold:

  • 11/20/18- Soft ReOpening! Start dropping on in and be ahead of the curve!

  • 11/24/18- Small Business Saturday! We’ll have doorprizes for the first 20 shoppers through the door, snacks, and our Keychain Stamping Station up and running!

  • 12/6/18- the Uptown Holiday Shop Hop! It’s the most wonderful time of the year when Uptown pulls out all the stops- and we can’t wait to be part of the biggest shopping party in town! Plus, we’ll have Adventure Textiles popping up with us so you can get your fill of naturally dyed, handwoven awesomeness.

  • 12/8/18- Our GRAND REOPENING PARTY!!! We’re gonna eat, drink, and be so dang merry y’all. It’s time to celebrate this new space and all it’s glory, with handmade holiday cheer.

  • 12/15/18- DIY Drop-In Holiday Craft + Gift Day Come get your holiday craft on with us, elementary school style! Drop-in to create simple leather-goods, gifts, and ornaments that will make perfect gifts for family and friends. Prices range $10-$20 per craft project!

  • 12/22/18- Last Minute Pop-Up Shop w/ Conscious Clothing! If you’ve procrastinated all the way ‘til now and think it’s too late to shop local, think again yo! Come shop ready-to-purchase goods from the extensive Conscious Clothing collection of clothing and accessories, all hand-sewn and hand-dyed right in Rockford MI!

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We’re so grateful for all of you, our fans, friends, family, and makers, that have stuck it out with us for the long haul down here on South Division. When we started this experiment that was Parliament and now is Gemini Handmade, we had no idea where it would take us- we just knew we wanted to have shop selling handcrafted ethical goods from makers we love and admire, built a thing, and hoped that the humans would come! And boy, have you ever- we can’t express enough gratitude for everyone that has believed in us and helped us make this handmade adventure a true, lifelong reality!

Stay Tuned for our next blog post about the history and renovations to our awesome new location, and all that we’ve learned about this beautiful neighborhood we’re proud to be calling our new home! Below is a sneak peak- the original building when it was built in 1936!

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And in the words of our mother, Barbara Vroon: THE BEST IS ALWAYS YET TO COME!!!

Becoming... Gemini Handmade!

It's official: we're rebranding here at Parliament!

On June 9th, 2018, we will be known as Gemini Handmade!

We're really excited about this shift and all the ways we will be pushing for new growth and direction with this new name.

Why the change?

Well, that requires a little Parliament-ed History...


Originally, Parliament was launched by me, Elyse Marie Welcher, as a storefront and studio for my brand of leathergoods and accessories, Littlewings Designs. I knew I wanted to carry the work of other artists and makers, so a different name was necessary; since my logo is an owl and a flock of owls is called a "Parliament" it seemed like a fitting name for the shop.

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But since launching, the scope of the shop, what we do, and why it exists have all evolved dramatically. We went through a season of collective ownership, when my husband and another partner joined the business, and have shifted out of that collective ownership recently to be owned just myself and my husband Jake. We also have shifted our literal location to a new home at 136 S Division Ave, taking up residence in the space we love in February of 2017. We have evolved in what our shop offers and produces- we started out as more of an atelier and boutique, and have evolved far more into a studio and gift shop. Finally, Jake and I are now running the shop side-by-side, with Jake having a far greater role as the production manager of all our wholesale and gift production, while I have evolved into the creative and marketing director of our three brands together. 

The original naming and all of these other shifts have led us to realize it's time for the next chapter. Jake and I have been waiting for the chance to bring the story back to center about our journey as a couple of leather-workers, and with a new name and new scope, we're thrilled to be able to do that!

Why the name Gemini Handmade?

Gemini Handmade is a play on mine and Jake's birth story. We were born 2 days apart in Grand Rapids, MI, at the same hospital, and were in the nursery at the same time. We realized this on our second or third date, and it was pretty obvious to us that we were meant for each other- the very stars had written it to be so! So, in having the chance to rename our space, we wanted to make it about the two of us, and our complimentary roles in the business to one another- and we're both Geminis, so how could we not?

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We're really excited about what all of this means, and can't wait to celebrate with you, our friends and fans of all these years!

Join us on June 9th, 2018, for the Becoming... Gemini Handmade Rebranding Party from 12-7pm at 136 S Division Ave! We will be reconnecting all the social media handles that morning, unvieling the new website, marking the celebration with cake and ice-cream, and sharing all of our new business-to-business offerings. Plus, we'll be offering a DIY Build Your Own Mug-Wrap bar, where you can pick your colors and custom monogram a mug-wrap for a mason jar! Check out the event on Facebook to RSVP- plus it's our 30th Birthdays, so what better way to celebrate and wish us
well into a new decade for the big 3-O!

Stay tuned here for our next post, where we will share more about our new offerings for wedding, event, and corporate gifts!

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