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A Q&A with Lisa Gnass, owner of Wren in Dimondale

Wren is located at 140 N. Bridge St. in Dimondale.

Tell us about Wren

I’ve wanted to own a home decor store and have loved interior design for as long as I can remember. During the pandemic, my husband and I would wander around open-air antique shows and huge, empty vintage shops. While on our outings, I’d often see items I thought would fit beautifully in a modern home, bringing it warmth and a sense of history. I hated leaving them behind. Around the same time, I came across vintage resellers on Instagram and thought I should try that out. That led me to look for a space to rent or buy to house, photograph and package the items for delivery. I found one right down the street, then realized I could just set it up as a store and be open when I was there, which led me to the decision to find and carry new items as well.

 

What do you sell at Wren and what makes your store unique?

We sell vintage and new home decor, as well as new jewelry, body products and gift items. We’re really thoughtful about what we bring into the shop. It’s time-consuming but a true labor of love, and I enjoy every second of the search. I really believe mixing old decor with new is the key to a home that feels personalized, warm and well styled. That’s why we also carry as many or more new items to create that balance. We try to bring in products that check at least a few of these boxes: American made, small batch/handmade, women- or minority-owned, not on Amazon, have a sustainability or social justice story. That doesn’t mean these are “crafts” — they’re beautiful pieces made by artists and makers who have great taste and produce an elevated product.

 

You have a full-time job in the corporate world, how do you manage juggling a business and corporate life?

I’m lucky to work with the most supportive and wonderful people at Dart Container in Mason, where I manage corporate branding. Dart truly believes in a healthy work-life balance, so I have the mental, emotional and physical energy needed to have a full life outside of the office. Not all jobs are like that. It really is special.

 

How supportive has the Dimondale community been to your endeavor?

I think the community is just as invested in our success as I am. I couldn’t be more appreciative of their support and energy and passion for our little shop.

 

Why do you feel it is important to shop local?

To start, there’s the time savings. When you shop local, someone else has done the work of vetting and curating great items for you. And the Lansing area has a lot of excellent local retailers, whether you’re looking for home decor or clothes or bicycles or books. Get to know your local shop owners, make it a priority to shop with them year-round. It’s not just good for the local economy, it’s good for creating community.

 

Where are you located, and do you have any special hours?

Wren is located at 140 N. Bridge St. in Dimondale, right across from Dime’s Brewhouse, Gigi’s Gathered Roots and MorningLory Cafe & Bakery. We’re open Wednesday through Friday evenings and all day Saturdays. We’re hoping to expand our hours soon. Find Wren on Instagram and Facebook @WrenFinds.

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