Marvel Neal, Proprietor
Founder and owner of Terrapin Marvel Neal has always had a creative side and felt the need to keep
busy. Achieving her B.A. in nursing followed by a successful career as an RN Marvel always found time
for musical endeavors , singing in numerous operas including Madam Butterfly and Carmen as well
as cutting her own 10 inch record. Raising her 3 children was her ultimate priority but there always
seemed to be something missing. Post nursing career Marvel was involved in interior design work that
allowed her to express her creative side but she had always envisioned having her own shop. In 1986
(after the youngest had flown the coop) Marvel opened Simply Marvelous in the newly renovated Rose
Street Market in Downtown Kalamazoo. Comprised mainly of Antiques and floral arrangements created
by Marvel Simply Marvelous held it’s own in the somewhat unknown location.
Fast forward to 1989… Simply Marvelous had run it’s course and Terrapin was starting to emerge
from it’s shell. With the introduction of tie dyed goods created by Marvel and her sons a smattering
of imported handicrafts and jewelry and a healthy dose of the good ole Grateful Dead Terrapin was
formed. Kalamazoo embraced this new store and their “kinda weird” stuff and the rest as they say is
history. Terrapin has made many transitions since then, from tie dye hippie shop to a unique import
boutique. Marvels inspiration and creative vision propelled Terrapin to new heights. She remembers her
and her sister playing with paper cut out dolls, putting together outfits, creating new styles, that was her
true passion and she brought that with her to Terrapin. Marvel is still involved in the day to day buying
selling and running of the business and could not be happier seeing her dream come true. She loves
the idea of providing Kalamazoo with some of the most unique artifacts, handicrafts, fashion forward
clothing, and one of a kind jewelry pieces.
Marvel is grateful for the help, inspiration, time, patience, muscle and effort of her 2 boys Chris and Jeff
for the last 20 years.