By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
ST. JOSEPH — Erik and Demrhy Youngquist plan to “reintroduce” Purely Michigan to downtown St. Joseph during a Friday ribbon cutting.
The store is at 406 State St. and changed hands in November.
Erik Youngquist, 52, said he decided to take over Purely Michigan after spending more than 30 years in the retail business. He said he wanted to be his own boss.
“I’ve always liked downtown St. Joe,” said Youngquist, who fell in love with retail while watching “The Andy Griffith Show” as a kid. “St. Joseph reminds me of Mayberry and how everyone knows one another. I didn’t want to be an astronaut growing up. I wanted to be a shopkeeper.”
Youngquist grew up in Royal Oak but had a local connection through his grandparents, who settled in Berrien County in the early 1930s. Youngquist, along with his wife, moved to the Twin Cities last spring and married in August.
The next step was telling his new wife – whom he had been married to for less than a month – about his thoughts of owning a store in downtown St. Joseph.
“It’s been a crazy year. It seemed like we bought the business when we got back from our honeymoon,” he said. “We were interested as soon as it was put on the market. We found out it was for sale at the end of September.”
Purely Michigan sells unique products and carries craft beer, wine, clothing, housewares, books, jams, chocolate, prints and gift baskets.
Youngquist said they plan on including more items for men. Among the more popular items since they took over has been the drinking vinegars.
“We’re changing it up from what it was. We’ll be doing more of a vintage and retro look,” he said. “Once a month I’d like to have some wineries to come in and do a tasting. My wife and I have spent a lot of time working with vendors.”