Pat Andres, of Clinton Township, shops the vintage Christmas décor at Max and Ollie’s Vintage Boutique in downtown Mount Clemens.

Pat Andres, of Clinton Township, shops the vintage Christmas décor at Max and Ollie’s Vintage Boutique in downtown Mount Clemens.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Small business adds unique touch to Clinton Township, Mount Clemens

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published November 15, 2018

 Customers at Ati’s Jewelers in Clinton Township are assisted by employees last weekend.

Customers at Ati’s Jewelers in Clinton Township are assisted by employees last weekend.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP/MOUNT CLEMENS — It’s the neighborhood small business that gives a splash of unique flair to a community.

Take Ati’s Jewelers in Clinton Township, for example.

Owner Sandra Wowk said small businesses like hers stand the test of time because of the personal customer service she offers to customers, whether it be a new customer or a repeat customer.

“I think that even with the way everything has changed technically with the computer, it’s still the good old-fashioned, one-on-one customer service that people really want,” said Wowk, who has been in business for 19 years. “They can come in and touch and feel the merchandise, and they always know I will be here to help them and make their dreams come true. It’s that familiarity.”

Ati’s Jewelers has “stood the test of time,” Wowk said, simply due to its commitment to ensuring the customer is 100 percent satisfied with their shopping experience.

“People like the easy parking associated with small business; they don’t have to fight the mall crowds,” she said. “I’m also able to invite my customers to watch any repairs that are being done, and I offer custom jewelry.”

Wowk in past years has been where one couple was married, and she has also hosted theme parties.

“Every year I hold a Christmas party, which is my way of saying ‘thank you’ to the customers for their patronage.”

The party includes live entertainment, food and roasting chestnuts outside the store.

“I am truly a one-of-a-kind small business jeweler,” Wowk said.

Macomb County Chamber of Commerce CEO Grace Shore said that about 90 percent of the chamber’s members are made up of small businesses. And across the nation, there are about 27 million small businesses, which generate 50 percent of the gross domestic product, according to the Small Business Administration.

Small businesses are very adaptable, Shore said.

“They’re very flexible. They can respond to market needs and customer needs because they’re small and owner-operated,” she said. “The owner has contact with his customers and can then respond to their needs.”

Walking into a small local business is different than walking into a big box store, Shore said.

“They know their customers. They greet their customers. They try to help their customers,” she said.

Both big and small businesses are needed in a community, Shore said, but small businesses also have that personal appeal because they are very tied to the community. Where there is a dense residential community, there will be small businesses that pop up to support that neighborhood.

“They’re people in your community; they live in your community. Their kids go to school (with your kids) so you have a personal relationship with your customers, with your government officials, and your local community is your source of networking,” Shore said.

There are numerous one-of-a-kind small businesses in downtown Mount Clemens, and the owners are well-known to both customers living outside the city as well as inside.

The city boasts something different on every block.

Diane Kubik, owner of Max and Ollie’s Vintage Boutique on Macomb Place, agrees that small businesses are critical to small towns.

“We don’t have nor do we want big box stores here,” Kubik said. “Here customers get a unique shopping experience and unique products.”

Kubik said Max and Ollie’s, named after her two sons, has thrived in Mount Clemens for 13 years. She echoed Shore’s assessment about customers enjoying a personal connection to their local small business owners.

“The customers enjoy the fact that, usually, the owners are inside their store and they often form a personal relationship with us, and that allows for better customer service because we know our customers,” Kubik said.

Staff Writer Kristyne E. Demske contributed to this article.

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