Of all downtown Northville’s vast selection of hip and eclectic small businesses, the coolest may be Mod Market, a gift shop whose display of items dazzles customers’ eyes and whose mission warms their hearts.
Mod Market is so cool, the “o” in Mod is actually a multi-colored heart.
Opened in 2019 at 150 Mary Alexander Court (one street south of Main Street in Northville) by Rachelle Vartanian, the shop is a market for inclusive artists. Its space is filled with an array of stylish gifts that may not be on your loved ones’ holiday wish list, but won’t disappoint once their wrappings are ripped off.
Special needs, special skills
What makes Mod Market over-the-top special is 45% of the artists whose works are sold at the site are individuals living with special needs.
For instance, assembled near the store’s north-facing front window is a collection of Canton resident Nick Bair’s animal paintings — all reasonably priced and so detailed they appear as if they were pulled straight from the pages of a National Geographic.
Another section of the brightly-colored space is dedicated to the work of Logan G., who specializes in architectural pen and ink drawings, including a spot-on rendering of harness-racing venue Northville Downs, whose sprawling property rests just a stone’s throw south of the market.
Mod Market is an enterprise of the Northville-based Living and Learning Enrichment Center, a 501(c)3 organization that provides a haven of social and vocational offerings for developmentally-disabled people from 11 years old to senior citizens.
In addition to manager Amy Bonser and employee Christina Bair (Nick’s mom), the store’s staff includes people with autism or related challenges who embrace the opportunity to develop critical job skills that often lead to employment in a variety of other environments.
The artists earn commissions on their works’ sales and revenue raised by the market go toward the Living and Learning Enrichment Center’s noble causes.
“Once people learn about us and visit the market, we’ll hear them say, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m going to shop here all the time!’,” said Bonser. “We’re proud of the wide range of merchandise we offer and all of it is at an approachable price point for people.
“We like to say that everybody who comes in here will find something they like and can afford.”
One of many complimentary Facebook reviews of Mod Market raved about its “fine art, wonderful reception … and what they do for others!”
If you’d like to assist Mod Market beyond purchasing goods from the business, visit its Amazon “Wish List” page to buy an item that will help its sustainability for years to come.