Gina VanGessel already thinks ArtPrize is a winner.
VanGessel, who owns Gina’s Boutique at 40 Monroe Center, said the inaugural competition has been a blessing for her business.
“It’s wonderful. It’s been such a blessing and a reward for me to see all these people down here and get them into the store. A lot of people didn’t know about the store and I’ve been here five years. So it has been amazing to see new people come in here,” she said.
VanGessel held a free fashion show on the first Friday evening of ArtPrize, featuring women’s clothing and accessories carried by the shop. It wasn’t a coincidence the show was held that night.
“We did time it with ArtPrize. It did help draw people to it. And we’re opening a new store, too, so we featured some of the clothes from the new store,” said VanGessel, a niece of Rockford Co. CEO Michael VanGesssel.
The new store, Lia Rose, opens to the public Tuesday, Oct. 13, right next to Gina’s Boutique. Rosa Piccione, owner of Rosa’s Closet at 2141 Wealthy St. SE in East Grand Rapids, is VanGessel’s partner in the new entity. An invitation-only ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place Monday, Oct. 12. This shop also will feature clothing, jewelry and accessories for women.
“It’s clothing for the average-size woman. It’s not a plus-store. We’re going to go from size 2 to 16. I think it will be more of a draw for women ages 40 to 65. But I definitely can’t say that someone in their 20s and 30s isn’t going to find stuff that they want either,” said VanGessel.
The hours for Lia Rose are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.