At the end of March, V2V shrank from two stories to half of its second-floor space in the Kerrytown Market & Shops, and Elephant Ears migrated over to fill the void.
“Sales were strong, but Kerrytown wanted to divide the space. They wanted more foot traffic over there [on the north end of the building] and I guess I didn’t need 9,000 square feet,” sighs Tess Haas, who opened V2V (then called Vintage2Vogue) in the 1980s when she graduated from U-M with a degree in English. The store, originally in the space now occupied by Spice Merchants, grew and moved into what had been Kitchen Port, eventually filling the space downstairs too as it branched into furniture and simple and elegant home goods.
Even at its smaller size of around 4,000 square feet, the Kerrytown shop is still much larger than Haas’s other two stores, in Petoskey and Charleston, South Carolina, which sell mainly apparel.
While she no longer has room to display furniture, Haas says, “I have a designer on staff who can order furniture and help put together a room, and we sell home goods for the tabletop and desktop”–and, of course, clothes, like the flowing, understated designs by Isda Funari, one of Haas’s favorite designers.
By May 1, Elephant Ears plans to move into the newly configured two-story space formed by V2V’s retreat. “We’ve got stroller parking upstairs and downstairs and baby carriers,” says Jenna McElroy, surveying her new bilevel space with a parent’s eye.
On the second floor, says McElroy, “we are going to be adding furniture: nursery furniture, twin beds, bunk beds, all your baby gear, many more stroller lines, car seats.” Her husband and business partner Matt Cyrulnik adds: “We have furniture lines manufactured in the U.S., even things made in Ann Arbor.” Cyrulnik is particularly enthusiastic about Spot on Square, a furniture company that uses “sustainable processes” and has its manufacturing plant in Michigan.
They currently carry up to size 16, and in the fall plan to greatly expand their selection in sizes 7-16. Cyrulnik, who grew up in a clothing store (his grandmother owns a women’s boutique in Hamtramck), takes children’s fashion seriously: “We try to accommodate everything from LA to New York and even sometimes try to do a little touch of the southern. Sometimes we’re a little too edgy.”
Though he cops to edginess, he won’t cop to pricey: “We’re not expensive. You may see a high price on something, but come and ask me. We have beautiful dresses that are $27. That’s better than the Gap. We have stuff you won’t see in the mall.”
Fustini’s will move into Elephant Ears’ old space in mid-June. Owners Jim and Lane Milligan import first-pressed, small-batch olive oils from around the world and balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy. This will be their third location–the others are in Traverse City and Petoskey.
V2V, 415 N. Fifth Ave. (Kerrytown Market & Shops). 665-9110. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. www.shopv2v.com
Elephant Ears. 622-9581. Mon., Tues., Thurs., & Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wed. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. elephantearsonline.com
Fustini’s. No phone or hours at press time. www.fustinis.com
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This article has been edited since it appeared in the May 2010 Ann Arbor Observer. Elephant Ears’ phone number, URL, and clothing sizes have corrected.