The Vertin’s Department Store
The Vertin family emigrated from Yugoslavia to the Keweenaw Peninsula in the 1870s. In 1881, Matt Vertin and his sons, John and Joseph, began working under the company name M. Vertin and Sons. They sold household goods door-to-door throughout the Keweenaw and Houghton counties. In 1885, the brothers John and Joseph purchased the old Provincial Hotel on the corner of Sixth and Oak streets and tore it down to build a two-story sandstone building to house the Vertin’s Department Store. In 1903, they expanded and added two stories to the building, making the building the size it is today.
Vertin’s was a household name in the Upper Peninsula. Over the years, the family owned Vertin’s stores in Calumet, Houghton, Norway and Ironwood, as well as three Klemm stores in Illinois. Vertin’s Department Store carried all the goods a family needed, whether they were miners or millionaires. They provided for the community’s needs, stocking everything from furniture to tools, from Levi’s overalls to ladies lingerie, filling four floors and a basement with merchandise. At its peak, the Calumet Vertin’s employed 60 sales associates.
In 1985, the Vertin’s Department Store in Calumet shut its doors for good in the wake of mine closures.
The Vertin Gallery
In Autumn of 2004, the Vertin featured studio spaces for artists on the second floor of the building. Within a few months, the artists had formed a co-operative and began exhibiting work on the main floor of the building.
In 2007 the Vertin Gallery restructured from an artist co-operative into a consignment gallery. Work is juried by a board of artists and business owners. The business also expanded to include art supplies and an eclectic collection of books, many by local authors or about local areas.
Future plans for the Vertin Gallery hope to include Antiques, web sales and more programming and events.