Our local communities are brimming with unique shops. Check them out on Small Business Saturday — Saturday, Nov. 24.
Jodi Feld Special to the Jewish News
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, Ann Arbor. Right along Main Street in AA, Rock Paper Scissors is home to beautiful stationery, gift cards and the most awesome supply of pop-culture stickers we’ve ever seen, plus an impressive selection of gifts, too. The store claims to “Celebrate Everything.” The store, of course, brims with greeting cards full of cheeky sayings, but we also got a kick out of its hilarious wall art, amusing mugs, aprons and throw pillows, and the huge supply of Michigan-themed gifts. Some of our favorite items included an “I Miss Ann Arbor” T-shirt ($32) and a clever gift card that spoke directly to our grammar-loving hearts. They also offer workshops and events throughout the year.
LORI KARBAL, Birmingham. In business for 28 years now, Lori Karbal calls her store an “edited boutique” and her mix of tasteful gift items, apothecary and women’s sportswear, artfully displayed in the intimate space, proves it. There’s an impressive collection of coffee-table books, giant 700-piece animal puzzles, scented lotions, candles and unique book ends. We fell in love with the handmade Lily Juliet Grand Slam servers ($125), the Tara Wilson Designs acrylic boxes and salt and pepper shakers ($60 and up) and the Ariana Bohling cozy alpaca slippers ($198). But, what we really had to have was the La Pinta Luxe card deck, by Luxe Dominoes, the perfect gift for our Canasta-loving mother-in-law ($60).
MY HOUSE OF STYLE, Birmingham. Tucked along Old Woodward, My House of Style just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. While owner Diane Harris says she considers her boutique a jewelry store, she’s got an eye for lots of other luxe goodies, too. The diamonds and opals glittering from wall cases certainly caught our eye, but we also loved the stacking leather jewelry boxes by Wolf Designs ($75-$175) and the travel cases by PurseN ($56 and up) for stashing our lovelies in. We obsessed over the bracelet cuffs, by Made in the Deep South, featuring vintage costume broaches fastened on saddle leather ($165 and up). Harris says the hottest gifts right now, though, are the Think Roylyn convertible fanny packs ($88), which can be worn like a traditional fanny pack, cross body or over the shoulder. Our favorite was the punchy fuchsia, which will brighten any gray winter day.
JUST GUYS, Franklin. Jason Dickman got his start in retail selling young men’s sportswear at ’90s favorite, Trends, in Applegate Square. Seeing a void in the market, he opened his own version in Downtown Franklin this past summer. Just Guys carries boys’ sizes 8-20, plus a smattering of men’s options as well. The modern space is filled with an admirable selection of Vineyard Vines apparel — the largest outside of the actual Vineyard Vines store — popular with the teenage crowd. They also carry lots of boys’ suits, DL 1961 denim and sportswear by Leo and Zachary, Psycho Bunny, Appaman (we love the elbow-patch flannels) and more. Best-sellers include local Ink Detroit T-shirts and sweatshirts ($32 and up) and Happy Socks ($14), with colorful patterns inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol and the Beatles.
CATCHING FIREFLIES, Berkley, Rochester, Ann Arbor. Inside these whimsical boutiques, colorful displays house hand-crafted, unique gifts and trinkets you never knew you needed! The adorable fairy doors are perfect for the little one who still believes. You can mount this woodland door inside and leave treats out for the tooth fairy who’ll no doubt enter here forevermore ($15.95). The very popular Speks Rare Earth Magnets are small, but mighty, and kept our 9-year-old engaged for hours ($25.95). The stores’ walls are also decorated with an eclectic mix of wall art, signs and clocks. We especially loved the sewing machine clock with its pendulum swinging scissors ($64.95), and the personalized family signs that are made-to-order and one-of-a-kind. If you can’t make it to one of the three locations, their website is organized by gift and/or by recipient.
LIL’ RASCALS, Birmingham. This charming children’s clothing store offers clothing for the most fashion-forward kiddos. Open since May 2013, Lil’ Rascals carries a great selection of gifts and clothing in sizes newborn-8 for boys and girls. Handmade barrettes and bows line the walls while the racks are filled with Chaser T-shirts, Joah Love dresses, soft bamboo pants by Kickee Pants, Dori Creations’ lamé leggings and a slew of vintage-style rock tees. They also personalize items such as jewelry, blankets, step stools and hooded towels. We were suckers, though, for the cozy rock and roll PJs by Rowdy Sprouts ($55).
THE DETROIT MERCANTILE CO., Detroit. Started by a fourth-generation Detroiter, the Detroit Mercantile Co. has an urban vibe and brims with vintage and new items that reflect the owner’s love for Detroit. All items are either made in Detroit, Michigan or the United States. We were in awe over the Aminimal necklace — a street map of Detroit cut into a 1.3” diameter on an 18-inch chain — and the extensive selection of Detroit-themed T-shirts, sweatshirts, totes and hats. It also has amazing one-of-a-kind vintage art, flags and prints. Check back often as the vintage pieces are always turning over.
THE VARSITY SHOP, Birmingham. For the Michigan sports fan, there’s no better place to buy a gift than the Varsity Shop. Opened in Downtown Birmingham in 1954, it moved to a new location on Adams Road just three years ago. You’ll find a large supply of Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Lions and Pistons gear, a hearty variety of U-M and Sparty wear, plus tons of high-school apparel. The Varsity Shop rolls out varsity jackets for more than 30 area high schools and has an outstanding selection of sportswear for your high-school athlete. We cheered for the collegiate panoramic puzzles, checkers, jerseys and casserole dishes, but our favorites were the Bad Boys T-shirt, the 2undr swingshift underwear ($36) and the Franklin Uniform set for our nephew ($49.99).
TODD’S ROOM, Birmingham. Long known for its ability to beautify the ladies and gentlemen of Metro Detroit, Todd’s Room moved from its cozy Downtown Birmingham storefront to a spacious stand-alone on Bowers Street seven months ago. The mainstay beauty apothecary now carries a large selection of gifts, jewelry and women’s apparel, in addition to beauty and cosmetic lines. We loved Mistral, a men’s line of soaps, gels and colognes — especially the manly Bourbon Vanilla scented candle ($50). Other gems are Chando ceramic diffusers ($38 and up) and wall-mountable ceramic succulents by Chive ($50 and under). Todd’s Room also offers a stunning selection of both new and vintage jewelry, but our favorite gift, of course, was a gift certificate for a make-up lesson with our favorite Todd’s Room artist ($95 and up).
MODERN ART DESIGN STUDIO, West Bloomfield. While many visit Modern Art Design Studio for custom invites, napkins and stationery, they will be pleased to find a gorgeous and unique selection of gifts, too. Popular items include the beautiful diffusers lining the wall (which also give the store a spa-like aroma). Along with a delicious assortment of Sugarfina candy and bento gift boxes ($28), the store also sells an amazing selection of Mud Pie ceramic serving pieces with kitschy sayings, beautiful crystal-encrusted NY Cake cake stands and Bella Firore frames. Our favorites, though, were the custom-made “Real Housewife of Bloomfield Hills” pads of paper ($20), Bey Berk Humidors ($90 and up) and the Jonathan Adler “Mrs.” Jet Set kit ($58), complete with travel mask and ear plugs.