By Linda Lane
The Cooley family offers a lot more than just antiques for sale in their gallery. Sue Cooley, a former art teacher in Mendon Schools, tends to focus on the antique part of the store, while Sue’s husband, Daniel, and two sons, Bryce and Myles, feature their own fabulous artwork for sale, each with a different talent. All four members of the family take turns helping to staff the store.
Daniel’s original oil paintings are incredibly detailed, with many featuring the Chicago skyline with a car in the streetscape. Bryce’s talent is in caricatures. He showcases several famous actors including WC Fields, Robert Deniro, Mickey O’Rourke, Andrew Dice Clay, and Stanley Kubrick, with more caricatures in the works. And Myles features beautiful “plein-air” or outdoor landscapes from around the southwest Michigan area, including one of Austin Lake. The Schoolcraft Community Library will feature the three Cooley artists through March.
Sue Cooley began collecting antiques and reselling them over 20 years ago, having sold items in the Vicksburg Antiques store, down in Shipshewana, Ind. and even in Allen, east of Coldwater on US-12. For four years, Cooley had a booth in the Schoolcraft Antique Mall, a few doors down from her current store. One of her features in the store reflects her love for Native American baskets from the southwest Michigan area. The oldest piece for sale in the shop is a side-board, a buffet which dates back to 1820. Cooley really enjoys the “early stuff,” handmade items, and there’s “a little bit of everything” in the store.
“It’s really convenient living right next door,” Sue Cooley said. “We’re having fun. It’s been a great retirement plan for Dan and me. There’s a nice social side to having the store and meeting all the people who come in to shop. We’re all learning things constantly and we like doing what we’re doing.”
After she retired and the building which had housed “Norma’s Antiques” for years came up for sale, Cooley and her husband decided to take the plunge into having their own shop. They sold their home and moved into the residential space which adjoins the shop on Grand Street in Schoolcraft. The Cooleys bought the store in November, 2016 and opened just in time for the Christmas Walk in Schoolcraft that year. They again participated in the Christmas Walk this past year, with the famous “Opera House” on the second floor above her store available for visitors to see. Bryce offered caricatures during the Christmas Walk and Myles, a self-taught pianist, performed during the Christmas Walk.
The shop is located at 209 N Grand Street in Schoolcraft and is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., Sunday from noon until 4 pm.
While Sue Cooley and her two boys, Bryce and Myles, all attended Vicksburg schools, they all seem happy with their new location in Schoolcraft. “It’s such a nice little town. The location has been really good for us,” Cooley said.