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PurelyMichigan is a staple of State Street in St. Joseph; the store dedicated to the mitten has been at it’s current storefront since 2012. It’s evolving; the owners are new, and the merchandise is paying homage to Michigan vintage in an awesome way.
Erik and Dehmry's new logo has a font to pay tribute to vintage Michigan signs and posters
Erik and Dehmry Youngquist bought the business last fall, taking over just before the heyday of Black Friday. They share their story on their website:
Late this past summer rumors started that Purely Michigan in downtown St. Joseph was being sold or worse yet closing. While the rumor mill was in full swing the new (but as of yet not knowing) owners were preparing for their wedding at the end of August.
The new owner Erik Youngquist had decided that after 30+ years in retail it was time for him to be his own boss. The next step was telling his new bride of less than a month his thoughts of owning a store downtown.
Erik and his wife Demrhy purchased Purely Michigan on November 25th the day after they got back from their honeymoon or exactly 8 hours after touching down. Starting a new business is scary but the day before black Friday is crazy.
First things first so Erik and Demrhy, (who was on winter break as food director for St. Joseph public schools) started ordering new product with a strong emphasis on retro (how he remembers) Michigan. The two started sourcing out vendors who would work with them exclusively in the downtown market place.
Since then, Erik has been making his “shopkeep” dreams a reality. At the ribbon cutting, Erik mentioned his lifelong desire to be a small-town shopkeeper. He said he was inspired by the Andy Griffith Show, with personable shopkeepers at the heart of the town. Erik is always wearing a traditional apron, greeting guests and showing off the latest merchandise.
I’ll be honest, I had to look it up.
A few episodes and a lot of Wikipedia later, I’m recalling more and more “Mayberry” in Erik’s friendly and welcoming manner. It’s a privilege to be in the Youngquist’s PurelyMichigan store (especially when Demrhy cooks!). I visited St. Joseph frequently before making the move here, and PurelyMichigan was always a great stop for gifts for out-of-state family and friends. With vintage inspiration for the customer experience and the merchandise, I’m loving it even more.
Erik and Demrhy at the official ribbon cutting for their new adventure
PurelyMichigan is located at 406 State St, and open Tuesday-Sunday. You can find them on Facebook, and the Instagram account is great!