A historic building at the center of downtown Howell has been given a new life.
So have two new business owners who are each opening their first brick-and-mortar businesses.
After decades of working at jewelry stores, Taline Shiklanian is striking out on her own. Shiklanian, a longtime Brighton resident, opened Taline’s Fine Jewelry on the first floor of 102 W. Grand River Ave. on Friday.
Yoga teacher Bree Boswell is gearing up to open her business, Good Yoga, next month in a space on the building’s second floor. She established a virtual yoga business earlier this year.
Many locals know the building as the old McPherson State Bank, named after a family who helped settle Howell.
More recently, the building was the location of Yax Jewelers, which operated in downtown Howell for more than 100 years and had been in the building since 1977. Long-time owner of Yax Jewelers, Tom Cunningham, retired and sold the building last year.
Developers Jeff Doyle, Geof Greeneisen and a couple of investment partners purchased the building at the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue, which is the center of downtown Howell.
“We love the building. It’s one of the best in town. We knew we were not going to get another chance to get (a building) on one of the four corners,” Greeneisen said.
A shinier future
Shiklanian has been in the jewelry business since she was 16. She got her start working at Sparkle Jewelers, a now-closed jewelry store her cousin owned in Oak Park.
Earlier this year, she was laid off from Rottermond Jewelers in Brighton, and she found herself facing an uncertain financial future.
“I prayed and prayed, Lord, give me an answer,” said Shiklanian, who lives in Brighton.
She said her cousin’s wife, Krystal Shiklanian, encouraged her to open her own store.
When First National Bank in Howell approved her loan to start the business her future became brighter.
“I was in tears. I thought, this had to be God’s blessing,” she said.
Taline’s Fine Jewelry sells gold, silver, diamond and gemstone jewelry.
Shiklanian said her price range is wide.
“It’s every price range. From $25 dollars to any size diamond you want,” she said.
“My bridal (jewelry) is my favorite. I love selling bridal because I get to be involved in their new beginnings and many of them I stay with. I know when their anniversary is,” she said. “I work around their budget and make her happy. I love making people happy.”
While she plans to hold a grand opening on Dec. 4, she said that could change because of the surge of coronavirus cases in the county.
“I’m ready to do curbside. I could do it by appointment. I’m setting up a website (for online sales),” she said.
Yoga helped her heal
Boswell said she started practicing yoga to heal from sexual trauma and infertility.
“While yoga was healing for me, I wanted to help others,” she said.
“I wanted to create a business where people with all body types could feel comfortable. I’m a plus-sized yoga instructor and I want to have a place that feelscomfortable and safe for all bodies.”
She founded Good Yoga online and got three other yoga teachers on board.
She said she is bringing three more yoga teachers on board now that she has a brick-a-mortar studio.
The studio will offer all kinds of yoga classes, including Hatha, Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga styles.
“I teach Yin, a slow style of yoga that works on the tendons and connective tissues, and restorative yoga, which I like to say is for people who like to nap,” she said.
The studio will also offer massage therapy. Boswell said she expects to add that in May 2021.
“Yoga is really the study of using gentle movement through the body to awaken energy centers, and massage … can channel energy through the body as well,” she said.
Her massage therapist plans to start offering aroma therapy next month.
She said 5% of her profits go to yoga teacher training for people of color.
In addition to yoga classes, she plans to sell Michigan-made jewelry and candles, and she hopes to add a juice bar featuring Drought Juice, a Michigan-based company.
In addition to the jewelry store and yoga studio, there is a two-bedroom apartment for lease on the second floor.
Doyle and Greeneisen said they made a large investment in fixing up the old building. They renovated walls and floors and upgraded things like electrical and plumbing.
They are still working to finish renovations.
“Everything was antiquated,” Doyle said. “It’s always more (money) than you expect when you get into a 100-year-old building and don’t know what to expect.”
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timar at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @jennifer_timar.