History

HISTORY

Art of the Table opened on October 21, 2003 to swift business and customers from as far away as France and as close as next door. And though some of its loyal customers continue to hail from farther afield, at heart it’s a neighborhood shop, nestled in a renovated historic building in the growing Wealthy Street Business District in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In a space that was originally home to Wealthy Food Market (and later numerous party stores, typically selling 40 oz-ers, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and the like), Art of the Table imagined a different kind of party store: one that caters to a gathering of friends, a cozy night by the fire, or a porch party on a hot summer’s eve. After an extensive renovation project, led by Steve & Amy Ruis and marked by a commitment to sustainable, local work, Art of the Table was born – and received a Historic Preservation Award from the City of Grand Rapids.

Founder and owner Amy Ruis took her first serious interest in food at the young age of three weeks when her dad fed her an anchovy. Blue cheese followed soon after, and then sardines. The rest is history. Amy will eat almost anything (except cooked peas that are not in a pod because she has issues with texture). Somewhere along the way, Amy caught not only the food bug but the retail bug. She has enjoyed the presentation of food and drink from the early age of eight when she sold lemonade and cowboy cookies at the curb. Today, Art of the Table is a perfect vocation and hobby for Amy; her love for entertaining and enjoying great food and drink lends itself perfectly to running a store that makes the big and small moments of life more memorable (and more delicious).

Since the beginning, Amy and Art of the Table have been involved in many community programs and issues, starting with her involvement in the Wealthy Street Business Alliance. As one of the founding board members of Local First West Michigan, Amy dedicated a good deal of time working to grow the organization as well as being a Local First ‘ambassador’ to the community. Art of the Table also supports many local nonprofits like Home Repair Services, Lighthouse Communities, Baxter Community Center, Grand Rapids Organization for Women and many local private & public schools.

In 2013, Amy and Kate Leeder (former cheesemonger at Art of the Table) began a new partnership and opened Aperitivo in the Downtown Market.