Something for everyone at Charlie’s Emporium
CRYSTAL FALLS — While it might look small from the outside, better plan extra time to look around Charlie’s Emporium and Artemis Archery.
“It’s like you’re entering another universe,” owner Barbara Luck promised.
Born and raised in the Ann Arbor area, Luck spent summers at a cottage owned by her grandfather, the late Charles Arthur Swope, on the Paint River. She said she knew she would move to the area someday.
“I started coming when I was six and never wanted to leave,” she said.
She previously did landscaping, was an electronics parts manager and cleaned hospital operating rooms before moving to Crystal Falls and purchasing two connecting buildings at 308 Superior Ave.
“I didn’t really think about how it was gonna work, I just knew I wanted to live here,” Luck said.
After walking around the three-level historic buildings that once housed a J.C. Penney’s department store and L.A. Henry Furniture and Undertaking, Luck thought, “Antiques are fun.”
That was the beginning of Charlie’s Emporium and eventually Artemis Archery. Since opening two years ago, Luck has filled all three floors with antique furniture, reclaimed barn wood, gifts, souvenirs, architectural salvage and more.
“I go to sales but most of the time people bring me stuff,” she said.
Luck takes in consignment and artists rent space in her business. “I have a guy that makes wood products, and I have some people that paint, do photography — Bill Christiansen, who was in the Michigan History Magazine, he has a display here. I have a steampunk artist, people that sew and people that do embroidery work,” Luck said.
Chairs, barn wood, trunks, wagon wheels, windows, doors, wood stoves, records and jars filled with buttons are just a few of thousands of items that can be found at the business, and the array changes every week, Luck said. Every season and holiday has a section.
“It’s a shopper’s paradise. If you see something you like, buy it, because it may not be here next time,” Luck said.
She recently sold a small cannon to an out-of-town customer who sent her a video of the piece in action. “It takes a one-inch lead ball, but it shot,” Luck said.
A few months after Charlie’s opened, Luck decided to turn the first floor of the connecting building into a public range for archery, sharp shooting and air rifles practice.
The 4-H Sharp Shooters club using the space once a week and Luck has equipment available to rent. Both businesses are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Luck is loving life in Crystal Falls, enjoying her new community and her businesses.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said, “but how much fun is this?”