GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — If you think you’ve only seen stained glass in churches, you probably have seen it without realizing it.
Jennifer Maurer learned her craft early on when Rainbow Resources Art Glass took large commissions for stained glass at a casino and at a furniture store. “I got a lot of experience really fast,” she remembers.
Maurer has been teaching others in classes now for over 20 years. Sadly, classes at Rainbow Resources -- “a big part of our business as far as the social aspect and bringing new people in” -- have been on hold since the beginning of the pandemic. “We hope to get back to it soon.”
But the shop, located in the heart of Eastown on Grand Rapids’ Southeast side, keeps busy with repairs and pieces for homes. “I think people are remodeling and updating their homes,” Maurer says. “We have been doing a lot of custom work.”
But stained glass isn’t necessarily an expensive item. “We have things that are pre-made for sale, anywhere from $15 on up. So, I think that we fit in most people's budget, depending on what they're looking for.”
Shopping for leaded glass isn’t something one can do online, which is important to Rainbow Resources Art Glass. “You really want to see and feel what you're getting. Or at least I would,” notes Maurer. “So, to not support a local business means that that local business might not be there to be able to do that in the future.”
“If you're going with a more intricate design, a floral design, something larger scale, and it can be kind of expensive, yes. But we also see more simplistic geometric designs. So, it just depends on your needs as the customer.”
Despite the hold on classes, interest in classes at Rainbow Resources is high. “I think that there's a spike in interest as far as people wanting to take up a new hobby,” Maurer explains. “I also think there's a spike in interest because people are fixing up their homes. So, we've seen both ends of that.”
The shop’s location works to its advantage, too. First, it’s in Eastown. “Eastown is known, I think, for its eclectic nature, and people just want to come here for the diversity and the different types of businesses. And being around for 47 years, people just kind of know who we are.”
But Rainbow Resources gets some walk-in business: “We've actually gotten some pretty big jobs from people that were waiting in line at Wolfgang’s,” Maurer laughs, “so thank you to Wolfgang’s.”