There’s Something for Everyone at Emilee & Ivy’s Vendor Mall
Writer / Julie Yates
Photographer / Tony Straw
Emilee & Ivy’s Vendor Mall, owned by Debbi and Richard Yakas, has been open since September, and it is a shopper’s dream. It offers visitors the experience of perusing more than 50 booths in its 10,000-square-foot space. As a sister store to R & D Flea Market, it not only adds to the destination shopping of Plymouth, but it also gives other retailers the chance to sell their goods.
“We have owned R & D Flea Market for seven years, and when the possibility of opening a vendor mall seemed likely, we thought of it as an extension of the flea market,” says Debbi Yakas. “On Thursday, July 23 we found out that the Sears store at 7628 Michigan Road was closing. The next day we were in contact with the leasing people, and by Monday we were in talks. By July 29 we had signed the papers.”
“We love the flea-market feel, but here the aisles are wider and it’s not just our merchandise,” Yakas adds. “I wanted it to be full of booths selling a diverse amount of goods so it appeals to more people. It’s not a flea market, and although we have some antiques, it’s not an antique mall. With high gas and grocery prices plus people watching their budget, we wanted most things to be affordable. There are a lot of items priced at 50 cents to a dollar. The most expensive right now is $800.”
The building provides the perfect space for a vendor mall. Located in front of Plymouth Municipal Airport, it is close to restaurants, hotels and other retail establishments. Natural light floods through large windows and there is plenty of parking. When the call went out for booth rentals, the vendors came out in droves.
“Vendors selling a huge variety of stuff came to us,” Yakas says. “I just put it out there, mostly on Facebook, and we had a printed-up paper that we handed out at our flea market. We set up appointments and vendors were able to pick out the 10’x10’ spot they wanted. Some wanted double spaces. Another wanted glass display cases. We tried to make as many spaces as we could. Some had been on the waiting list of other shops for two to two and a half years. We wanted to encourage others to have a chance to sell their stuff. We ended up with a variety of vendors selling thousands of items. We did not allow alcohol, cigarettes, guns or ammunition sales. The waiting list is capped at 30 and it has been full since November.”
The vendor mall truly has something for everyone. Just a few steps away from a booth selling rare antiques is another selling personal items such as deodorant and toilet paper. Other items sold include white, shabby-chic, chalk-painted furniture, as well as vintage LEGO sets, handmade soap, pencil drawings, toys, handmade jewelry, clothes, decorations and so much more.
“We have one lady who has a booth and 100% of her profits go to benefit missions in Haiti,” Yakas says. “She restocks weekly with donated goods such as books, decorations, purses or even small furniture. Another person had to close her own shop due to medical issues but can still sell items by renting a booth here. She doesn’t have to be here on her bad days because every vendor has a number and we record sales when customers check out.”
Yakas keeps a list of five similar shops located close by. People can make a day out of shopping at similar stores. Besides resale-type establishments, destination visitors can enjoy niche shops in downtown Plymouth.
So who are Emilee and Ivy? The name comes from granddaughters who love garage sales and staging shelves. Since the girls’ parents have no interest in the business, it was named after them.
“People don’t understand the variety the vendor mall has until they walk in the door,” Yakas says. “It could keep somebody busy all day. When we opened it up, we thought we would just see what happens. So far it’s crazy good – way beyond what we thought. We get a lot of positive feedback from regulars as well as first-timers. People from out of town bring their sisters and friends. They say they just love this place.”
Emilee & Ivy’s Vendor Mall is located at 7628 Michigan Road in Plymouth. Visit on Facebook for more info.