WRITER | PATTI EDDINGTON
PHOTOS | FULL CIRCLE CREATIONS
April 1, 2020, was to be a momentous day in the life of Stacey Lamberts and her family. After a year and a half of intense planning, hard work, and the selection of beautiful, handcrafted items by local artisans to stock the shelves, Full Circle Creations in Zeeland was ready to open its doors.
“Then COVID-19 hit, and our store and world crumbled before us,” says Lamberts, a former administrative assistant who envisioned owning a business that helps entrepreneurs flourish. “Here we were, ready to advertise our grand opening, and we were shut down.”
Two months passed before those doors could swing open, but, ultimately, a dream delayed didn’t mean a dream denied, and Full Circle Creations will soon celebrate its first year as a boutique marketplace for handcrafted products made in the mitten.
It was something of a circuitous route to this business on Zeeland’s appealing Main Avenue. The journey began in 2014 when Lamberts and her husband Steve started a small business — SnS Dips — whipping up a line of packaged dip mixes to sell at craft shows. They initially created six dip mixes, three spice/salt blends, and cookie/dessert jars for a Christmas show and sold out. When it was apparent that this triumph wasn’t a fluke, the couple progressively increased their inventory and now offer more than 40 products for both wholesale and retail sale.
The gratifying success of SnS Dips kickstarted Lamberts’ vision.
“We wanted to start a storefront of our own to offer a local place where we could sell our items and bring in other artisans as well,” she says. “We wanted a marketplace storefront full of entrepreneurs with hopes and dreams, offering quality products at affordable prices. “
It was “gentle but persistent” persuasion from her husband, who now manages Full Circle Creations, and their son Alex, a Central Michigan University student majoring in business entrepreneurship, that led her to take her first halting steps. She and Alex had heard about a property in Zeeland and drove from West Olive to see it, only to find it had already been snapped up. But the cute building next door — a long, narrow space with original wooden floors, tin ceiling, and charm to spare — had a “for rent” sign in the window and seemed made to order.
“Zeeland has always been and still is a beautiful, quaint little town. They do so much to try and bring the community together by hosting family events and little markets — which is what I love,” she says.
The small city helps and supports its small businesses, and in return, Lamberts and her family are doing their part to support others like them.
Full Circle Creations takes pride in offering products made locally, most within 20 miles of Zeeland. Currently, it represents about 15 consignment artisans offering clothing, candles, wine racks, and home decor— as well as a few pieces Lamberts carefully curates to ensure a variety of items are available for shoppers.
When she envisioned her business, Lamberts hoped to offer classes taught by local artists a couple of times each month, and she had lined up a cadre of instructors to teach before the pandemic struck. While the number of classes had to be curtailed and the number of students limited, Full Circle Creations did manage to offer instruction in string art, canvas making, and candle and wreath making in 2020, and Lamberts hopes to expand on that. She plans to offer cookie and cake decorating, open crafting nights, private event classes, woodworking, flower arrangements, drawing, knitting, crocheting, and macramé throughout 2021.
The name Full Circle Creations was selected because Lamberts had an eye on inspiring others to pursue their dreams as diligently as she fought to achieve hers.
“Makers are creative people who take something from nothing, work to create something beautiful, and bring it to life,” she says. “Like a circle, it is an ever-flowing process that never truly ends.”