The window displays at Barclay Gallery began to get intriguingly eclectic two years ago when Dan Heikkinen bought the Main Street art store that specialized in Japanese woodblocks and added his own collection of Alberto Vargas pinups and Gibson Girl lithographs. About a year ago, wooden sailing ship replicas manufactured in the Far East also floated into the window displays.
Heikkinen, who owns a screen printing and embroidery business in Ypsi (“and thank God for that”), bought the gallery on a whim and has found $1,000 art prints to be a pretty tough sell. “We were dead and buried. Not only dead, but cremated. From January through March we did eighteen sales.” So this spring, he shortened the name to Barclay’s and with the help of employees Kimberly Moncrieff and Corrine Deckard began selling women’s clothing–almost all American made and priced under $40.
The Japanese woodblocks, Vargas prints, and wooden ships are still for sale but now also function as an unexpectedly creative backdrop for the clothing, which is “mostly for high school, college, young professionals–under forty,” Heikkinen says. The tops and sundresses are glittery, gauzy, colorful, and strappy. “You can’t be all things to everyone,” he adds, though what with the pirate ships and the pinup girls, the shop isn’t exactly a model of demographic coherence. Heikkinen leaves the fashion buying to Moncrieff and Deckard, who also sells her own jewelry in the store.
Add this to the mix: a rack of inexpensive though classic Van Heusen men’s dress shirts. Heikkinen can explain those. “You get a lawyer at lunchtime, spills ketchup on himself, has to change, what’s he going to do?”–a scenario that has played out a few times now to Heikkinen’s satisfaction. The other clothes have been selling too: “This past month we did eighty-five sales, and I tell you, it’s a lot more fun being in here now. You get traffic, you get to talk to people. I’m not in here all day playing Sudoko on the computer and reading three books a month.”
Finally, there’s a candy-apple-red electric motor scooter in the window, made by Current Motor Company, a local start-up on Jackson Road that Heikkenen is happy to shill for. The thing is huge–think Harley, not Vespa. “You know,” he quips, “my wife’s from Bangkok, and there you could fit an entire family of five on here with a baby in the cargo case.”
Barclay’s, 218 S. Main. 663-2900. Mon. 1:30-4:30 p.m., Tues.-Thurs. noon-7 p.m., Fri. noon-9 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. www.barclaygallery.com
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