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Keeping it

The GRPM Blog

More than a Gift Shop


November 23, 2022


In the last year, the GRPM Curiosity Shop has grown from a traditional gift shop to a destination to shop local goods by West Michigan artists.

This transition was in large part to the vision of Curiosity Shop Manager, Dana Albrecht.  We asked Dana, in her own words, to describe what motivated the shift in focus and how working with local consignment artists has elevated the shopping experience. 

Pictured: Solstice Handmade, Red Hydrant Press

The landscape of retail has changed drastically in recent years. From supply chain issues to growing shipping costs, small brick-and-mortar businesses have had to innovate to remain in business. Despite these changes, consumer expectations for immediacy, convenience, and the lowest price available proliferated. This dynamic put a ton of pressure on smaller shops to compete with retail giants for survival, despite having none of these resources at their advantage.

My unique challenge was to figure out how our Curiosity Shop could stand in the face of these growing changes and offer something the giants could not…curated handmade goods that reflected our own community. Building local partnerships enhanced our ability to put dollars back into our economy and create visibility for small businesses. As a result, we’ve been able to decrease shipping and the upfront cost of goods while gaining the flexibility to easily adjust inventory as it serves the public’s interest, exhibit relevance, and the businesses themselves.

Since I started working here, 1 year and 4 months ago, we’ve established 38 local consignor relationships and will continue to grow exponentially in this direction. The reception of these changes by our visitors has been deeply rewarding. Most people walk into a museum retail space with an expectation of souvenir merchandise, toys, and tchotchkes. Innovating means we have a distinct opportunity to defy consumer expectations and use large visitor traffic to connect local makers with potential buyers, strengthening the fabric of our community and giving the shopper an experience they simply won’t get at other museums.

Dana Albrecht, GRPM Curiosity Shop Manager

Meet the artists representing GRPM exhibits in the Curiosity Shop.

Fashion + Nature 

Iconoclasp – Ashley Trieu 

Original handmade clothing and accessories.

Public ThreadDesigner Collective

Specialty fabrics, traditional textiles, and 3D knit material.

Solstice Handmade – Dayna Walton 

Pins, patches, stickers, prints, and cards. 

Nature Walk Studio – Donovan & Casey Scott 

Accessories and apparel. 

Beemo Textiles – Brie Moblo

Accessories and apparel. 

The Power of Poison

Ethereal Etymology – Allissa Corak

Sustainable entomology and taxidermy art.

More Noteworthy Cosigners

Bush7 – Indigenous Artist Collective

Art, keychains, stickers, and cards reflecting the themes of the Huron Potawatomi Tribe.

Up North Living – Colleen Bowden

Trays, coasters, and jewelry that highlight Michigan rocks and minerals.

WagsStuff LLC – Greg Wagner

Local-themed mugs, greeting cards, Swedish dishcloths, and cookbooks.

Visit the GRPM Curiosity Shop today to see more!

Late Opening Notice.

On Saturday, May 11, the Museum will open at 12 p.m. due to road closures for the Amway River Bank Run.

Early Closure Notice.

The Museum will close at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1 for Museum Adventure After Dark. Tickets are still available!