ArtVentures - a mainstay of downtown Brighton for 25 years — is no longer around in its old location, but has both a new home and new owners. Claudia Roblee and her husband, Mark Gougherty, have sold their business to another Brighton couple - Mara Ikens and Devin Kirby. ArtVentures is a framing business but frames a wide variety of items, including portraits, landscapes, sports memorabilia, antiques, rare coins and mirrors.

Ikens had worked at several jobs in Brighton, including the Great Harvest Bread Company - which is kitty-corner across the street from ArtVentures’ new location in the Parsons Building. And she and her new husband - a computer programmer for Ford Motor Co. - wanted to have their own business. Roblee tells WHMI she was ecstatic when the arrangements were made and the business was purchased by the new couple, who had just gotten married in July, in an outdoor ceremony at Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake. In fact, it was a casual stroll into ArtVentures to get a custom frame for a wedding picture that brought her into the store, whereupon Roblee told her about their intention to sell the business.

All of the custom art framing that Ikens will be doing — like Roblee before her — will be done by hand, with no assembly line pre-mixes, and the use of non-traditional methods, such as hand-staining through a time-worn but superior technique called French matting. Mara Ikens says that what has happened with their purchase of ArtVentures isn’t merely buying a business with the purpose of making a profit. Rather, she says, it's about the continuation of an art form from one artisan to another and from one generation to the next.

Roblee will be leaving Brighton with a fairly lengthy list of accomplishments: She has served on the Brighton City Council, Downtown Development Authority, Principal Shopping District Board and the boards of several other organizations. She has been so heavily involved in the community that she was recently honored by the City Council with a proclamation read by Mayor Jim Muzzin. Roblee and Gaugherty plan on moving “up north” soon to the Traverse City area, where they will open an Airbnb. Roblee says they will miss the friends they have made in the Brighton area. But they will be back to visit often — especially since their daughters live here and they have six grandchildren in the area. (TT)