WRITER | MIKAYLA BALK
PHOTO | HEATHER NOWAKOWSKI
Focus On: Elevated
Stepping inside Elevated, customers are instantly greeted by the warm glow of hanging fairy lights, ornate wall decorations, lush plants, treasures filling every nook and relics from days past. The magical sensory experience of each vendor booth is akin to stepping inside a fantasy-rich Studio Ghibli film.
Owner Heather Nowakowski created Elevated to serve as a thriving hub for vintage, antique and artisan goods in West Michigan. It’s a wonderful mixture of kitschy cuteness, nostalgia and eccentric charm. Whatever you’re looking for, whether it be homemade honey, vintage fashion, gilded mirrors, spiritual emblems, groovy 1970s kitchenware or the grandma chic aesthetic that’s back in style you can find it at Elevated.
Heather says she has always loved vintage as a hobby, and after selling her previous business, she decided to follow her passion. With the help of another vendor, she opened Elevated Antiquities in Grand Rapids in 2018. Near the end of 2019, the store moved to its current location on Clyde Park and dropped the antiquities name.
As Elevated grew, Heather’s goal was to put people first and give everyone a chance to give something back to the neighborhood. The store’s mantra, “Real. Good. Stuff.” speaks to the authenticity of its products. From the beginning, artisans contributed to Elevated’s inventory. Every vendor rents space within the store and sells their own product within that space.
Elevated’s vintage marketplace brings community together in an exceptional way. It is home to many women-owned businesses, providing an environment where artists and business owners can seek advice and resources from one another. The store’s diversity is representative of the greater Grand Rapids community. All the vendors have their own brand and bring creativity to their space, decorating how they please, yet it all blends seamlessly together.
A wide array of products greet customers within the heart of Elevated, where dozens of artisans showcase their exclusive creations for sale, ranging from hand-painted mushrooms to crazy earrings. A natural skincare line, Gathered Botanicals, creates products from ingredients the creator foraged from nature. Another vendor, Black Cat Bodega, offers crystals, handmade soaps, pins, candles, notebooks, vinyl records and ceramic planters.
Perusing Elevated takes visitors through a transformative journey back in time. Forgotten items from times gone by line the shelves. Typewriters and old cassette players rest on end tables, showcasing the progression of technology just by walking down an aisle. These items are not just artifacts of history, but a testament to humanity’s endurance. Antiques open a window into an era where food had to be rationed, clothes were handmade and war was imminent.
The philosophy behind Elevated is to encourage customers to “surround yourself with what you love.” There are treasures from every decade, dating as early as the 1900s to nearly modern items of the 2000s. The menagerie of decor offers a selection of one-of-a-kind pieces that stand out in any home. After bringing a handful of statement pieces into your home, it is filled with warmth, character and soul. Rather than ordering mass-produced items from companies like Wayfair and Amazon, customers can buy something with depth and history. “There’s something for everyone at Elevated,” Heather says. “Even if you like brand new stuff, you can find something to love too.”
After opening her original store with a select few trusted clothing dealers, Heather noticed an increase in demand for vintage fashion. With its blossoming success, Elevated decided to open another secondary location, 955 by Elevated, located on Godfrey Ave SW, Grand Rapids, dedicated solely to vintage clothing. 955 carries men’s and women’s clothing in a variety of styles spanning several decades. Not only does a thrifted wardrobe give your personal style more individuality and support local businesses, but it’s also sustainable by rejecting the fast fashion industry. Buyers know the clothes they take home can withstand the test of time.
When in the Grand Rapids area, stop in and explore the intricacies at Elevated or 955 by Elevated or visit them online at ElevatedGR.com.
Elevated | 1750 Clyde Park Ave SW | Grand Rapids, MI 49509 | ElevatedGR.com