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Posted on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Ann Arbor's 16 Hands gallery leaving longtime Main Street space

By Janet Miller

The 16 Hands art and gift gallery on Main Street in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor will move to a new location in Kerrytown Market & Shops at the end of July.

The poor economy has slowed sales and made it impossible to stay on Main Street, where rents are higher, said 16 Hands co-owner Jill Damon. The gallery has been on Main Street for 20 years and was around the corner on Washington Street for 15 years before that.

The gallery will share second-floor space with Hollander’s Kitchen & Home in Kerrytown, Damon said. Hollander’s will maintain its kitchen goods and cooking class area but will consolidate its home goods area, giving 16 Hands about a third of the space, Damon said. It will be slightly less than the 2,250 square feet the gallery now has on Main Street, Damon said.


Downtown Ann Arbor's 16 Hands gallery is moving to Kerrytown.

Courtesy of 16 Hands

Hollanders expanded with the kitchen and home goods store two years ago but has had a long-time Kerrytown presence selling decorative and art papers and bookbinding supplies in a first-floor location.

Damon said 16 Hands will stay open on Main Street until after the July 20-23 Ann Arbor Art Fair and then will close for the month of August to move. It will re-open the first week of September, she said.

The 16 Hands lease for the space at 216 S. Main is up at the end of July, Damon said.

“We couldn’t afford to stay here. We needed to look for a better alternative,” Damon said.

Landlord Jim Curtis offered to reduce rent, but it still wasn’t enough to make the business viable, Damon said.

She said she’s known since December that 16 Hands would be moving. Damon said she has reduced staff over the past year but expects to increase hiring with the move.

Curtis, whose company Curtis Commercial LLC owns the property of 17 downtown retailers including the Parthenon Restaurant, the Real Seafood Co., Kilwin’s and the new Cherry Republic, said he will take his time finding the right tenant for 216 S. Main.

He said it would not be a restaurant. Downtown has enough bars and restaurants, he said.

“We need balance, we need a cross section,” he said.

Curtis said he’s already had interest from a number of restaurateurs, whom he has turned away.

Instead, he said, he’d like to see retail, such as a clothing or jewelry store, an art gallery or a shoe shop.

The 16 Hands space will be Curtis’ only downtown vacancy. Barclay Gallery ended its unexpired lease and The Himalayan Bazaar opened in May.

Janet Miller is a freelance writer for



Fri, Jul 1, 2011 : 3:30 a.m.

LOVED THIS STORE!!! So sad to see them leave the Main Street location. I agree that rents should be lowered at least for retail businesses, since they don't get the same kind of quick turnaround in business like restaurants. Glad to hear that Mr. Curtis is looking for more retail. I will continue to shop along Main Street to support local businesses and hope to see more continue to thrive. I will definitely follow 16 Hands to Kerrytown. Unfortunately I don't get down that way as often as Main Street. Love the Shadow Charms, jewelry and other items made by Cherie Haney that have been sold at this store! Good luck on the new location!


Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

What Main St. really needs are lower rents, so that stores that actually sell something useful could thrive there - instead, we get overpriced dust-catchers, nicknacks, and an overpriced food court for the University.


Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

Who wants to bet a restaurant moves into that space?


Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

I don't believe we will see a restaurant there. Both Barclay's and Occasionally Gifts were replaced by retailers, why would this location be different?


Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

Read the article before you comment. Himalayan Bazaar - a retail business - has already moved into the space.


Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

So sad that they have to vacate this location. What a wonderful shop this is, and this storefront is just perfect for them. Will follow them to Kerrytown, for sure.


Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

I'm glad to see 16 Hands is moving and not leaving Ann Arbor. I can't tell you how many wonderful gifts I've given to friends and family purchased at 16 Hands. I will certainly follow them to Kerrytown. I'm also impressed that Jill's business has been downtown for 35 years, quite an accomplishment.

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 10:56 a.m.

Sorry to hear that the business must move from Main Street. It sounds as if the landlord is reasonable and willing to work with the tennant, so I hope her plan for reduced rent in the Kerrytown building also figures in the potential lost revenue from reduced foot traffic and accessibility by not being as visible as on Main St.