November 23, 2011 - The economy may be on a steady incline, but the hard times are not over yet and Lake Orion's businesses have felt the pressure.
Jan Esselink, of Oxford, purchases one of her last items from Co-owner Shelley Peek. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
Now, after six years in business and nearly becoming a staple of the downtown area, Elements has begun the process of closing its doors - permanently.
"The economy has been very tough and it didn't help being closed during the summer for Streetscape," said co-owner Shelley Peek. "We just haven't had the sales, and we were just not making what we need to keep this place open."
The news comes with a heavy heart from the owners. Peek said the business could be compared to a third child for her and the store's other owner - Bonnie Blais (both woman have two children). The store was in the making for seven years and successfully attracted people from the defunct Rochester location.
Peek said they entered Lake Orion after looking in a number of different spots including both Rochester and Clarkston.
"We chose Lake Orion because Bonnie loved it here and when we were looking at spaces in town I fell in love too," she said. "We came in with the attitude of rocking it - there was nothing like us here for quite-a-ways except the mall. People come here to eat, shop, linger, talk and enjoy."
But despite the work that went into forming Elements, Peek said it was the people and customers that would be missed most.
"I'm going to miss the great conversations I used to have in here," said Peek. "It's just like a therapy session, for both me and whoever I was talking with. We've had people that have had a tragedy or great thing happen to them and they walk right in and talk with us.
"It was great."
Lake Orion's DDA Executive Director Suzanne Perreault offered her condolences for the closing of the store as well, adding that the store had been great for the downtown.
"It's very disappointing because they've been here for over five years," said Perreault. "We're going to be working very hard to fill that vacent space as well as others with an upcoming property tour on Nov. 29. We're contacting all the landlords downtown so we can get a proper tour together for people to pick up a map, take a look around town and basically get information from landlords on things like lease rates."
Elements will be offering 20 percent off their merchandise until their final closing date, Dec. 31.
"It's just so final - going out of business is tough to say," said Peek. "You just have to know when to say enough is enough.
"We want to thank the community for supporting us for so many years. It comes with a heavy heart that we do this. We're going to miss everything, but we're going to miss the people the most."
For more information on the downtown tour, visit the DDA at 118 N. Broadway or call them at (248) 693-9742.
Elements is located 11 S. Broadway. Their hours are 10 a.m. to 5 pm. Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tues-Thurs, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri-Sat, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. They can be reached at (248) 693-9010.