Businesses buzz in Leland and Lake Leelanau

Photo: Laura Siladke recently opened Leelanau Goods

By Abby Chatfield

Sun contributor

Numerous retail changes are taking shape in Leland and Lake Leelanau, but a handful of new businesses are creating quite a buzz. Leland welcomes two new lifestyle boutiques, a locally designed clothing line, and a yoga/Pilates studio, while Lake Leelanau is home to a new consignment store.

River Studio, 307 S. Main Street, Leland

Pete Wilson purchased the former Main Street Gallery property in Leland and is transforming the space into a yoga and Pilates studio. He shared his intent behind the new business called River Studio. “About 20 years ago, I took my first yoga and Pilates classes. They transformed my approach to fitness and wellness. I wanted to devote more of my time in retirement to fitness and wellness. The area had Union Yoga and later Yoga 4 in Lake Leelanau. I missed, and thought the community missed, having a space dedicated to yoga. I also wanted to include Pilates in the offering,” said Pete.

He vacationed in Leelanau during his childhood and then continued to visit with his wife, Melani. The couple purchased a home near Leland in 2001, moving up full time from Fort Wayne when Pete retired. He landed on the Main Street Gallery property after a walk through with Melani, who was looking for a new location for her retail store (The Find North, another notable retail move in Leland now occupying the former Picnic space on the corner of River and Main streets). Although the building was built to be an art gallery, he felt it was ideal for his own mission. He was drawn to its open space, abundant natural light, high ceilings and views of the Leland River. Pete said it needed little change beyond redecorating the interior to suit the needs of a yoga and Pilates studio. He has set to work refinishing the wood floors, opening up the interior space, and expanding the back deck to highlight the attractive lawn overlooking the river.

River Studio will host a soft launch in early July and a full opening later that month. Pete looks forward to what it will provide for the community. We want to support and enhance the fitness and wellness needs of the Leelanau community and hope to offer workshops and special events beyond our offering. As a new studio, our plans are still coming together.”

Leelanau Goods, 133 River Street, Leland

Perched atop Fishtown in a shanty next to The Cove restaurant, Laura Siladke recently opened Leelanau Goods, a boutique focused on independent designers and makers who do small batch production and share the ethos of sustainability. Fishtown’s newest shop is open daily with expanded summer hours coming in the near future.

Laura’s business began as an in-house slow fashion label in 2018, when she founded the apparel line Leelanau Clothing, selling wholesale online from southern California. A Leelanau native and avid seamstress who was making her own clothes by age twelve, Laura moved away to study fashion and photography. Working as a fashion photographer in Los Angeles provided connections that helped launch Leelanau Clothing. Everything is sewn in L.A. but designed by Laura. “Covid took over and paused wholesale, so I started bringing on other designers I knew, and it’s grown to be a full boutique,” she recounted. In 2019, she established the boutique Leelanau Goods in Santa Monica, where it continues to thrive.

Laura and her husband, who is also a Leelanau native, always planned to move back here. When Fishtown Preservation Society called about an opportunity to lease one of their shanties, plans for the second boutique began to unfold. She looked quite a while for the right retail space to bring her brand home, and she was familiar with Fishtown’s retail vibe as a four-year Art Shanty veteran. One way the Fishtown-based boutique differs from the Santa Monica location is by offering more goods that balance function and fashion to help people prepare for the outdoors without sacrificing style. “I think there’s a way to have technical gear be both,” Laura said. She is also proud to offer fresh bouquets of Lakeview Hills Farm flowers.

Deciding to name her business Leelanau Goods was a decision to give back to Leelanau. “It’s always been important to me that the county benefits from my business name as I do,” Laura said. Leelanau Goods will donate a percentage of annual sales to Fishtown Preservation Society, The Nature Conservancy, Leelanau Conservancy, and Leelanau Historical Society (LHS). These nonprofits either share Laura’s values or have a personal connection to her. “LHS was my first job in high school,” when she worked in their gift shop.

Goodness on Main, 107 N. Main Street, Leland

Ashley Suttman launched Goodness on Main in early May after a year of transforming the former Green Goodness space in downtown Leland to fit her own vision. Goodness on Main is a carefully curated boutique offering a selection of unique and high-quality products handpicked by Ashley. All brands she carries are either verified to be BIPOC, family-owned, female-owned, or locally created. Fostering a sense of community and belonging is important to Ashley, and she is committed to maintaining a welcome environment at Goodness on Main. She plans to stay open year-round for the locals and off-season visitors.

“Everyone has to visit the store in person to see the beautiful Flower Cloud installation just installed and created by Forget me Not Florists from Suttons Bay!” Ashley exclaimed. “Carly and Angel are truly amazing. We have worked together planning since December before the store was open, and it is a dream come true of mine to have fresh, beautiful flower arrangements in the store and surrounding our customers all the time.”

Ashley spent the last decade working part time at what was Green Goodness under the previous owner, honing her vision to make the space completely her own. “I would have never guessed this is what I’d be doing. But things fell into place, and as things began to work out and more and more came to be, I realized this was it. This was my next chapter. It reinvigorated me.”

A Leland School teacher for 14 years, Ashley said goodbye to her last group of students earlier this month. She is taking a break from teaching to focus on her store. She shared, “I’m worried about public education, and I’m worried about the health of our educators. I’d like to help once I have time to rest a bit and get Goodness and my own goals off and running.” Her children attend Leland School, and she met her husband there in junior high. Her kids will help where they find interests in the business, whether it is with inventory, branding, or learning QuickBooks.

Goodness on Main has two upcoming events in planning mode now and plans to host VIP nights. Ashley encourages people to reach out to her or check social media for details.

Evergreen Consignment, 102 W. Meinrad St, Lake Leelanau

Evergreen Consignment of Traverse City opened a second location in downtown Lake Leelanau, fittingly on Earth Day. Owner Jaffe Davis of Lake Leelanau wanted her second storefront closer to home. “It’s so helpful for Leelanau County to have something where you can go grab something and not have to drive all the way to Traverse City for it. With the amount of stuff that people are bringing in, it is clear that Leelanau County can really use a consignment shop,” Jaffe said.

Evergreen Consignment is a way for consignors to make money and a place to find a wide variety of goods and styles at prices less than full retail. The business is located in the same space as former Jaffe’s Resale & Consignment, not a coincidence that the business shared Jaffe’s name. Jaffe founded and operated it for a few years but ultimately decided to try other things, so she sold it to a couple who kept the name and ran it for another 19 years. After a career in art education Jaffe felt the itch to return to consignment, so she started Evergreen Consignment in Traverse City.

A decade later, she is bringing her passion back to the county. I was dreaming of a second location. This became available sooner than I thought, but it was a golden opportunity since it’s where it all started and it’s a large retail space. I love how much character the space has.” Evergreen Consignment has a totally different feel to it than the previous consignment store did. It offers a wide variety of apparel and styles, upscale home goods and furniture, and a fun vintage section. Currently, you can find beachwear and summer wear for women, men, and kids at Evergreen. They plan to frequently rotate goods with fresh options always guaranteed. Jaffe is working on a website, while the store will remain open year-round.