“I’m ready for my new chapter,” says Vicki Honeyman, owner of the Heavenly Metal boutique in Kerrytown. The store will close, after sixteen years, on June 30. Honeyman opened it in 2003 after fifteen years running the Ann Arbor Film Festival. “After I left the festival, I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Honeyman. “I spent two years in treatment and recovery from treatment, because I had gotten very ill. I got down to eighty-seven pounds, so life just really took a big turn for me and ate up my savings.” Getting back on her feet, she began cultivating a selection of vintage and unique objects and apparel that became Heavenly Metal.
She moved the store from E. Ann to a larger space around the corner on Fourth in 2016. At first, business was booming, maybe due to items like the Ruth Bader Ginsburg eternal flame candles (they say “dissent” on the bottom), but soon people stopped shopping altogether. “That first Christmas was really hard because people just didn’t want to go out,” she says. “People told me that they were really depressed” because of Trump’s election.
Online competition didn’t help. “I found that people were taking pictures” of her items, she says. “I would hear them say, ‘I’m going to get this on Amazon.'” But Honeyman says she doesn’t want to dwell on the negatives. Instead, she’d rather focus on her new project: a haircut studio run out of her Old West Side home.
“I’ve always, always been cutting people’s hair,” says Honeyman, whose own self-cut hair is shaped into a stylishly unconventional asymmetrical bob. Since 1980, she’s run a business-within-a-business called Vicki’s Wash & Wear Haircuts, first out of the Saguaro plant store downtown, then in a shared space with the film festival, and then in Heavenly Metal.
After the store closes, she’ll be cutting full time. Once she has the time, she says she’ll be able to expand her clientele: “newcomers are welcome!”