Elements - as a business - has actually been in existence since 1999. Nancy and her daughter-in-law Janine Suzor had always talked about having an artistic retail store - Janine being interested in art and interior design, and Nancy having previously worked with a talented potter from Phoenix, Arizona. Both of the ladies interests led them to various art shows, and ultimately to the idea that would one day become Elements.
Well, I actually worked at Houghton Lake schools for 23 years, Nancy Suzor explains, both as a counselor and teaching various subjects. My mother had an art degree, and she was a teacher, too - she taught art. Janine graduated from Houghton Lake, and then began working in interior design - shes self-taught. So there was obviously a lot of art in our family. As far as the location goes, wed visited the Charlevoix area often, so when a building that wed always kind of had our eye on became available, we snapped it up!
Janine, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, agreed to come up every year from May to September to help Nancy run the business in the busy summer months.
The Charlevoix Elements store opened in May of 99, and slowly gained momentum and attention for the Suzors meticulous choosing of hand-crafted, artistic items. The Suzors doubled the size of the Charlevoix store in 2001. Last year, they were contacted by a Harbor Springs building owner who was a fan of the store, and who thought that Elements would be a great addition to Harbor Springs. The Suzors, who had already scouted for locations in Harbor Springs but had yet to find a suitable place, quickly agreed, and Elements Harbor Springs location opened in June of 2005.
Probably 98% of our store is made up of artisan-designed, handmade things, Suzor says. We have lots of home accessories and very unique items by artists from all over the U.S. and Canada, and we deal directly with most of them. We already have a wonderful selection, but if people are looking for something else special, we are, of course, always glad to try and help them find it.
There is, of course, a selection of pottery, which Suzor obviously has an eye for, and a pretty line of china from Michael Aram. His Forest Leaf and Lotus Leaf china patterns are white, to blend in easily with existing china sets, and are shaped like leaves. Arams line includes unique serving pieces made of stainless steel and aluminum, and unusual vases in octagon and hexagon shapes.
Another range of artisans offer a selection of wine racks and wine accessories, from floor, corner, and wall-mounted wine racks to corkscrews, wine holders, and bottle stoppers - everything you could possibly need for your home collection or even to elegantly bring wine on a picnic.
If its something to tell time that youre looking for, Elements has that to offer, too, with their selection of handcrafted clocks, which includes whimsical wall and table clocks from David Scherer, steel/metal architectural clocks from Celestial Ironworks, and steel/copper/wood wall clocks with unique pendulums from Leonie. And theyve got portable timepieces, including watches from Watchcraft of New York, among others.
Other gift ideas include the copper CD and photo holders from All Fours; the selections of silk scarves and purses; the fun greeting cards and magnets; and the glasswork. Theres even a pretty selection of jewelry, including items from Michigan artist Hanni Yothers and the popular sterling silver and 14K gold charms by Pandora.
The Pandora charms will be really big this year, Suzor enthuses, They are something very unique that you wont find anywhere else.
And all of that isnt even the limit for Elements. This summer, we are going to be trying to hold some trunk shows, Suzor says, Wed like to have some of our artists bring more extensive lines of their work in to show, so keep an eye out for that.
Which is likely to bring even more customers over to Harbor Springs to see what Elements has to offer. We really enjoy being in Charlevoix, and we love being in Harbor Springs, too, Suzor concludes. We just love meeting new people.
Elements is located at 125 East Main Street in downtown Harbor Springs, telephone 231-526-4260. The Charlevoix store is located at 107 Bridge Street, telephone 231-547-5820. Their winter hours are M-Th-F-Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and they can also be visited online at