LAINGSBURG — While running an online women’s boutique for more than four years, Jessica Sivertsen always envisioned having her own storefront.
On May 15, Sivertsen and her husband Sam made that vision a reality, albeit with a twist, launching a combined coffee shop and women’s boutique — Ayven Grace Coffee & Studio, 750 E. Grand River Road.
The business, which the couple co-owns with Jessica’s parents, Kevin and Beverly Caswell, is divided into two adjacent suites connected by a shared interior door, and offers everything from women’s T-shirts and dresses to freshly-made lattes and baked goods.
“It’s been crazy,” Jessica Sivertsen said. “It’s been very busy so far, we’ve had so much support. Everyone’s been absolutely wonderful.”
Ayven Grace Co. — named after the Sivertsens two children, 4-year-old Addison Grace and 1-year-old Ayven Blake — was initially launched as an online women’s boutique in 2016, with the couple fulfilling the orders out of their country home near Laingsburg.
It wasn’t long before the business gained a substantial following, Jessica Sivertsen said, noting the company currently ships out approximately 1,000 orders per week across the U.S. and Canada.
It was that exact growth that prompted the husband and wife team to hire 10 employees to help with shipping, but with 10 cars in the driveway at any given time, it wasn’t long before county officials began to take notice.
“In September of 2019 (the county) dropped a letter in our mailbox informing us that we had to basically cease and desist all operations,” Sam Sivertsen said. “We had no idea (we were violating any laws), so we kind of started scrambling.”
“It got too big so the county told us we had to find a commercial space,” Jessica Sivertsen added. “We found this and we decided to combine it with coffee. We actually partnered with Foster Coffee Company in Owosso, so we got all of our equipment from them and we get all of our coffee from them every week.”
Ayven Grace Coffee & Studio was initially slated to open during the first week of April, Sivertsen continued, though the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent executive orders by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer prompted her to delay the grand opening until mid-May.
“We were definitely anxious to get started and when we found out we couldn’t, I think we were mostly bummed,” Sivertsen said. “We knew that when we could open back up, people would be ready to come in and excited to try it, but I think we were also apprehensive, wondering ‘Are people going to be scared to come in? What steps do we have to take to make people comfortable?’”
All employees at the coffee shop/boutique have been following the current CDC guidelines, including wearing masks, according to Sivertsen.
And in addition to Foster Coffee, the menu also features a variety of freshly baked treats, including cinnamon rolls, cookies and muffins.
“We also have avocado toast and maple toast,” Sivertsen said. “Maple toast — maple creme on an English muffin with butter — is something that we’re really excited for people to find out about. It’s my dad’s specialty. We had it growing up. It’s the best. You have to try it to believe it.”
Customers can now peruse the boutique portion of the business as well, which features primarily women’s clothing ranging from size small to 3XL, according to Sivertsen. The boutique opened May 26 in accordance with Gov. Whitmer’s reopening guidelines for retail establishments.
Customers can also browse through clothing options online at ayvengraceco.commentsold.com, and a website featuring all of the coffee, baked goods and related items — coffee mugs, T-shirts, hats — is forthcoming, Sivertsen said.
Though Sivertsen never imagined her online business would expand to encompass a retail storefront and a coffee shop, she’s happy to offer something new to area residents.
“I feel like there’s nothing like this around in the surrounding counties, and we actually found out that there was nothing like this (in the immediate area) because the health department working with us didn’t (initially) know the rules as far as where clothing and food mix,” Sivertsen said.
“I would love to see other businesses follow us here,” she continued, “because I feel like it’s a great community and we could use things like a nice restaurant downtown. I’m really hoping people will follow us.”
For more information, visit Facebook.com/ayvengracecoffee.