Dream store: Brick + Mortar mixes clothing, horticulture, gifts
IRON MOUNTAIN — Three years ago, Mike Pearson envied that his wife, Kate, was doing what she loved every day at her The Good Earth Salon in Iron Mountain.
Now he, too, has his dream job.
The Pearsons last summer purchased the former Vintage Sundries Antiques storefront at 213 E. Hughitt St. and opened the clothing, horticulture, and gift store Brick + Mortar that fall.
“The start was fantastic. It was amazing, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It was nice to see the great response we’ve had and it’s been fun,” said Mike Pearson, who formerly worked in construction and carpentry. “I’ve been really happy since I started, which has been a nice change.”
However, Brick + Mortar’s first test of stability came early when the COVID-19 shutdown happened just five months after their grand opening. The store’s strong opening gave Pearson the ability to weather the storm for now.
“All my spring inventory showed up and I shut down the same day, so I was sitting on a full store. That was kind of scary, but vendors extended terms and they were super helpful, so I was able to make it through that. Things are still very lean and they will continue to affect us through the next fall,” Pearson said.
During the shutdown, Brick + Mortar took to social media to help boost sales. “We got creative with online stuff, doing live videos. Customers were excited to help us out and shop. The amount of support we had during that time was really awesome,” Pearson said.
The name “Brick + Mortar” refers to a traditional business that offers products and services to its customers face-to-face, in a physical storefront. Mike Pearson said the historical brick building helps validate the store.
With an eye for all things leather, wood and metal, Pearson has hand-selected apparel, accessories, footwear and custom leather goods aimed at both men and women.
They also carry high-end, crossover adventure clothing and boots that are durable but fashionable.
Gifts and succulents are available as well.
“We started off with a lot of succulents and they are still really popular; they just took off. That was my wife’s idea and I was really hesitant, but we couldn’t keep enough in stock. We were going to buy them and propagate them, but I couldn’t keep up. That blew me away,” Pearson said.
But when winter came, the Pearsons struggled to keep the propagated plants healthy and alive, so they cut back on succulents and introduced pantry items such as beer breads, pretzels, kitchen items, peanut butters and olive oils.
Now that they are open again for the summer, the succulents are coming back strong and the Pearsons have added coffee mugs and Keweenaw Coffee to their inventory.
Both Pearsons are Iron Mountain natives and 2003 graduates of Kingsford High School. Kate graduated from the Douglas J. Aveda Cosmetology School in East Lansing in 2005.
The couple is grateful to the community for the business’ initial success. “We’d like to thank the community for their unwavering support during the last 14 weeks and since our opening on October 5th,” Mike Pearson said. “We would not be here without our patrons. We’re excited to serve this amazing community for years to come.”
Theresa Proudfit can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 245, or firstname.lastname@example.org.