By Sue Moore
“Our event center called Wind and James will truly be an impact project for Schoolcraft,” said Jamie Clark as he looked over building renovations his company is making to what used to be the Arco property at 555 E. Eliza Street.
Clark and his wife, Windy, envision a 299-seat venue for wedding receptions, art fairs, baby showers and special events in a facility being renovated literally from the ground up. The former brownfield site was purchased by Clark Logic in 2015 to function more as a warehouse for the family business that is headquartered in Three Rivers.
The building is over 100,000 square feet, so it will actually serve as a multi-functional operation. The event center opens to the east on Lee Street off Eliza Street with parking for 135 cars. There will be an outdoor fenced-in courtyard patio and seating area on the southeast side of the main entry. Inside there will be huge glass windows for great lighting opportunities, radiant-heated floors, a warming kitchen for catered events, new bathroom facilities and lots of art work as part of the décor.
Windy Clark is an artist who has been specializing in event planning out of the family home in Vicksburg. She has baked many kinds of cakes for parties, baby showers and other gatherings for up to 100 people in her home, promoted by advertising on social media. The Clarks have three young children, ages seven, six, and three; Windy said she wants them to grow up to see that mommy can be something other than a mommy. “I love children and especially getting them involved in art. We have enrolled our three in summer camp at the Saugatuck Art Center for several years which has been awe-inspiring for them.
Recently, the couple purchased Art on a Whim, an art studio headquartered in the Park Trades Center in Kalamazoo, and plan to move it to the Schoolcraft facility. They will offer art classes, work spaces for artists and a gallery and retail space to display the artists’ work. The instructor will be the former owner of Art on a Whim, Gretchen Leguizamon. Her students can learn to paint anything they want including furniture, floor cloths and wooden items. She will teach any style and help with color selections.
“We are creating the opportunity for a high-end entertainment venue at a good location in Schoolcraft,” said Jamie Clark. His company, Clark Logic owns 27 other facilities with a total of more than 2.3 million square feet of space in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties, mostly devoted to warehousing, manufacturing, recycling and transportation specialties. They just purchased the former Eimo building in the Leja Park in Vicksburg that was vacated when Eimo moved into its new facility next door. Clark Logic has 75 employees.
This company is a good citizen in Three Rivers, sponsoring events and donating to several local charities. Clark himself is heavily into bike racing, sponsoring a bike racing team. He personally just won a Cat 4 state time trial championship, while racing in Detroit last summer. When their two oldest children were in the Heart n Hands nursery school in Vicksburg, he donated helmets to all the children and brought in several of his racing buddies to teach the youngsters about bicycle safety. Clark says he has 30 projects in the works right now. In order to keep all these deals in motion, his wife points out that he gets up at 4 a.m. each day. “We’ve both worked hard all of our lives, often undertaking more than one job at a time. There’s a lot of creative energy happening in our household.”