GreenWick shining light on local history, arts

By Joshua Baethge
For the Van Alstyne Leader
GreenWick Interior Designs owner Grace Botrica says she wanted to highlight her hometown’s history and provide a space for local artists.

Last January, Grace Botirca launched her new business, GreenWick Interior Designs, just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic.  Initially, that seemed like terrible timing. However, when the company re-launched in June 2020, she discovered that life in quarantine had created a surge in demand for her services

“We just got a ton of clients because everyone had been sitting in their houses saying ‘I hate this.’ They felt like they were in prison.”

By August, she realized that they had already outgrown their McKinney co-working space and needed their own building. It was an opportunity to relocate back to her hometown of Van Alstyne.

Botirca and her husband move to the city a decade ago.  They both hail from small towns, she from Illinois and Ohio, and he from Romania.  After they got married and started a family, they decided to return to their roots and find a home with a little bit of land to enjoy the outdoors. Now she could also have a business in a historic building, something that was very important to her.

Of course, having a storefront in a historic downtown presented the dilemma of deciding what to put there.  She could have gone with standard interior design office fare, but instead opted to put out the call for local artists.  It only took one post on the Van Alstyne community Facebook page. She had no idea just how many creatives there were in town.

GreenWick Interior Designs owner Grace Botirca and her daughter Nadia oversee store operations on a Friday afternoon.

“These talented people just kept coming out.  It was incredible,” she recalled. “And it was such a gigantic mix of all kinds of things.”

Today around 30 local artists have their items on display at GreenWick. Botirca does her best to keep things cohesive. All items are either handmade or antiques. 

The surge in business necessitated a second move, this time to her current location at 178 East Marshall Street. Among those who came to visit the new outpost was longtime Van Alstyne resident Dell Justice.  He was curious about what had been done to the building and started telling stories of people and places for a bygone time.  As a lifelong history buff, Botirca suggested he share his stories with the community.  

“I could see the look on his face and could tell he remembered how it was,” she recalled. “He got inspired and started to tell stories. I said, ‘Dell- you have to share this. It’s not documented.’”  

That led to a local history night on April 24. Justice led a small group of neighbors around the block sharing some of the things he’s seen over the course of his life. A recording was made so that his insight would not be lost.  The event was so successful that plans are in the works for another one sometime in the not-so-distant future.

As for what’s next for GreenWick, Botirca says it’s a faith-based business at heart, and that her whole family is just kind of walking in faith as they do this. She plans to continue targeting middle-class family clientele because she wants to help everyone love their home and hopes to provide services that are both affordable and available to them.