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Posted on Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Kerrytown's Heavenly Metal owner reflects on 10 years in business

By Lizzy Alfs


Heavenly Metal owner Vicki Honeyman and her dog, Lucy, inside her Kerrytown store.

Courtney Sacco |

Vicki Honeyman never intended to own her own small business.

Almost 28 years ago, she started cutting people’s hair in a small rented space on East Ann Street in Kerrytown, and for a good portion of that time she organized the Ann Arbor Film Festival from the same building.

But after leaving the festival in the hands of new management, Honeyman, an artist at heart, found herself filling the space at 207 E. Ann with recycled metal artwork, jewelry and other items for sale.

“Then I started to realize, if I’m going to do this, I better come up with a name,” Honeyman said about her accidental leap into the retail world.

“It’s not like I planned to open a store, because if I had thought about it, I never would have. It’s a big commitment,” she added.

Since early 2003, Heavenly Metal has grown and evolved as Honeyman has learned more about owning a business. She continues to cut hair in a corner of the store and carries a variety of inventory — from purses and apparel to artwork and jewelry. She makes a point to stock American made and handcrafted work.


A Think Local First sign on the door of Heavenly Metal.

Courtney Sacco |

A lot of things at Heavenly Metal happen on a whim — like the time Honeyman bid and won a set of 100 used cowboy boots on eBay and lined the store with them. But at the same time, Honeyman does her research.

“You have to figure out what people are going to want to buy this year,” she said. “Before 2008, really, anything would go in terms of price point and how many things people would purchase. Then, things really fell apart and I had to constantly think about what didn’t work and what I think will work this year.”

Honeyman has to keep up on trends — like the infinity scarves that are flying off her shelves — and offer affordable items since customers are spending less money than they used to. The average purchase in her store is about $25.

Most critical to her business, she said, is the holiday shopping season.

Events like Small Business Saturday and Midnight Madness drive big sales, while gift shopping thrives during much of December.

“We’re not a tourist town, so we don’t have the strong summer sales that tourist towns have, but we have the strong December. December is what gets us — it gets everyone — through the rest of the year. It’s hard to gamble on this one time period,” she said.


Heavenly Metal owner Vicki Honeyman's original jewelry line "reworks by vicki," pictured in the store in April.

Melanie Maxwell |

She said the challenging retail climate has caused many stores to close in the 40 years she has been in Ann Arbor. That’s why she’s a strong supporter of the “buy local” movement and tries to create a community of businesses downtown.

“When I see all the businesses that have closed, it’s heartbreaking,” she said. “It’s very important that we keep this local economy strong. That strength can’t rest on corporately owned stores.”

Because Heavenly Metal is tucked away on a side street of downtown, Honeyman tries to drive traffic to the store through her website and social media. She has popular “e-blasts” to keep customers updated on her inventory changes and sales.

When she hired a web development team to redesign her website last year, she said it completely re-energized her store.

“You have to have an Internet presence now; you absolutely have to,” she said. “I cannot tell you how much it impacted my customers.”

Ten years later, Heavenly Metal is still dear to Honeyman’s heart — it’s not only how she makes a living, but she acknowledges the many friendships it has brought her. And even after spending 10 hours or more each day working, Honeyman is still passionate about being a small business owner.

"People coming here energizes reinforces what I'm doing," she said.

And another decade from now, Honeyman envisions selling the business to someone equally as passionate about it.

“As the economy slowly gets better, with the knowledge that it won’t go back to the way it was, my hope is that the business will have its own vitality and hopefully, in 10 years, somebody will say, ‘God, I love this, I want to buy your business.’ That’s my hope,” she said.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

Designing Vicki's site was a blast, she's one of a kind, and everyone here at build/create is be proud to be a part of re-energizing the store :)


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

Vicki and Lucy have a significant presence in our retail community. I am so glad she's maintained her dedication to our town. They are the heart and soul of Ann Arbor! Loyal business owners like Vicki should be supported...on premise and on line. Thank you, Vivki and Lucy, for making us proud! Heavenly Metal is fabulous!

Vivienne Armentrout

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

Vicki is an authentic Ann Arbor treasure. Thank you for profiling her business.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

Has Vicki really been on E. Ann for 28 years? She used to cut my hair out of Saguaro on W. Washington. Love Vicki, love Lucy, love the store. Great spotlight, Lizzy.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

thanks for this great article on one of our local treasures. love heavenly metal. love vicki. visiting her shop always brings a smile to my face.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

I've never been in the store but it is rare on to have such favorable reviews with no negativity (at least so far). I applaud her success and wish Ms. Honeyman continued good luck. Though I have never been in her store, she was one of my jitterbug instructors some years ago. Based on that experience, I can attest to her very engaging personality.

Lisa D

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

One of Ann Arbor's real jewel boxes- the iconic store filled to the brim with unique, special treasures assembled by its inspiring, spirited, creative and magic making owner, Vicki Honeyman! Lisa Dengiz

Linda Peck

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

It is a lovely and fun place to shop. The experience of being in Vicki's place is so happy and uplifting. It is always a great time when I stop in, even when I don't buy anything, but just browse and talk to the always lively and sweet, Vicki Honeyman!

pooh bear

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

way to go Vick!


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Great store!! I always find a wonderful treasure there. Looking forward to at least another 10 years !


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

I was just in the store yesterday and it was packed. Great place with lots of fun, unique gifts. And they'll do a lovely gift wrap as well, so you're good to go when you leave the store.