By Sue Moore
Creativity oozes out of Windy Clark 24/7 as she envisions her newest endeavor, Wind + James in Schoolcraft. She and husband Jamie Clark have taken a run-down warehouse at 555 Eliza Street and turned it into a venue for art classes, parties, wedding receptions, events – and in April, Schoolcraft High School’s prom.
“It’s a funky, modern, colorful, fun space,” Windy Clark pointed out. “Kids love the colors, the décor and it’s just a great place for their very own parties. This space makes me feel happy and I hope it does for everyone else who wants to be here.”
Clark started by hosting parties in her own home in Vicksburg for up to 100 people. “That’s the sweet spot for me,” she said. “I love doing the design and décor for a party and was initially inspired by my kids’ parties where I did a lot of baking and art work. Before getting married to Jamie, I planned events and displays for the Harley-Davidson store on Sprinkle Road. Jamie came in to buy a raffle bike for the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce. It was love at first sight.”
The couple has four children. The youngest, Louie Edward, was born in March but Windy doesn’t plan to take much time off as the need to get the facility up and running is vital. They have spent over $1 million to turn it from what was the home of heavy industry to a fancy event space.
Initially, Clark started with art classes, having purchased Art on a Whim that was housed in the Park Trades Center in Kalamazoo. She transferred all the materials and instructor Gretchen Leguizamon to Schoolcraft in 2017. Wind + James was granted a temporary occupancy permit by the Schoolcraft Planning Commission and then an extension for 2018 while they get concrete poured for the required number of parking spaces. These should be done in time for a grand opening the Clarks hope to have for the Fourth of July celebration in Schoolcraft. Jamie Clark is well known in the area as the third-generation owner and principal of Clark Logic, and its subsidiaries J&L Express, iTrailer and CMS Warehouse & Storage. In addition to providing hundreds of jobs for local residents, the Clark family supports more than 40 local charities, nonprofits and local organizations.
Jamie Clark never has enough time in the day according to his wife. “He just can’t sit still and has got to be busy all of the time. Although Windy admits she can be the life of the party, he is usually quiet, supportive of her work and will stand back to observe. He is a bicyclist, competing in road races across the state. He coaches youngsters’ basketball for son Bowie, soccer for their son, Remy, and takes daughter Charli to participate in Girls on the Run in Kalamazoo.
Their occupancy permit is good for up to 299 people for an event. Outdoor space is being planned for a courtyard on south and east sides of the building. She is using shipping containers from her husband’s business. One will house a band shell, one is for food service, and another for a possible putting green. There is a warming kitchen inside is available for licensed caterers. Families can bring in alcohol if they will provide a rider on their own insurance policy and have someone certified to serve alcohol to serve as the bartender.
This summer the Clarks plan to offer art camps for youngsters with plenty of space for children to work with paints and build the things they love. The website is windandjames.com. The phone number is 269-615-1338.