Northville’s Mod Market manufactures heart-warming goodness for customers, staff

 Northville’s Mod Market manufactures heart-warming goodness for customers, staff

Pictured (from left) are Mod Market artist Nick Bair, employee Christina Bair, manager Amy Bonser and artist Logan G.

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.

According to the introduction on its official Facebook page, the business is “an artisan market and unique gift shop”, but to its employees, contributing artists and everyone who knows its backstory, the space is a whole lot more.

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.

Canton resident Nick Bair stands next to a selection of his animal paintings.
Canton resident Nick Bair stands next to a selection of his animal paintings

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.

Providing opportunity

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.

Mod Market's interior is a feast for visitors' eyes.
Mod Markets interior is a feast for visitors eyes

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!”

Customers can even purchase the business’s items on its online store before picking up the items at a pre-arranged time.

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.

If you have a story idea for, please contact Ed Wright at 734-664-4657 or

Ed Wright

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