Old Towne Mall has successfully filled every storefront in its historic Belleville building on Main Street.
Seven businesses — all owned and operated by women — now fill the mall, bringing its occupancy rate to 100 percent.
“It’s making a comeback,” said Gerry Dahm, co-owner of Metal Crafters Studio, the newest business to open at the mall.
Local Lucy’s, TOOTS’ Cake and Candy Supply, Step by Step Dance Studio, Belleville School of Ballet, Ambassador Travel, BradyCrew Photo and Design fill the other spaces at Old Towne Mall.
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Dahm and her business partners at Metal Crafters Studio started as a co-op for metal works artists and have grown to include classes for the public and jewelry retail space. Classes at Metal Crafters range from $30 to $100.
Beginners are welcome to come and make jewelery, bowls and other keepsakes. Cooper, silver, enameling and metal clay, a new material in the industry, will be available for customers to work with.
Dahm teaches classes along with artists Timothy Kelsheimer, Allyson Wolf and Joyce Marchand.
The shop sells jewelery and can make custom pieces as well.
Dahm hopes to add a couple’s class to the mix and metal crafting certification classes. The retail store will operate during normal mall hours.
“It’s just fun,” Kelsheimer said. “I like making stuff. I always say ‘I’m the guy who uses flames and it hits with a hammer. You’ve got to love that”.”
Metal Crafters Studio wasn’t the only business to open downtown in 2018. Halo Clothing Boutique, Bennie’s Pizza Pub, Crafty Sugar Company, Cosmic Comics Collectiables and Games , Wicked Little Bowtique and Smokin’ Aces Industries Salon also moved in this year.