Support Local: Great Places to Buy Holiday Gifts in Detroit

Boxes of 45s at People's Records.

There’s still plenty of time left for Christmas shopping, and if you’re like me you not only procrastinate, but you like to buy your gifts from local retailers to support the local economy. In previous years I have made it a point to at least try to buy all my presents from stores in Detroit (it’s easier than you think). This year, the city could sure use the economic stimulus.

Studies have found that spending money at independent locally owned stores helps keep more money in the local economy than money spent at national chains. By supporting local, you’re also supporting the unique character, charm and, yes, commerce of your community.

If you’d like to help support Detroit businesses and find some quirky, one-of-a-kind presents, here are some great ideas for where to go. I’ve mostly organized them by neighborhoods or even buildings to make it easier — like a mall, you can one-stop-shop without having to make multiple trips.

  1. The Park Shelton — This former hotel, now luxury condominiums, has in recent years seen several inviting small businesses sprout from its street-level storefronts along Woodward Avenue. So you can shop for apparel, accessories and jewelry at Goods, find something unique for that bookworm on your list at Leopold’s Books or shop for fashion at the Peacock Room. Visitors also get two free hours of parking in the secure parking structure, and there are restaurants like Wasabi and the Good Girls Go To Paris creperie if you get hungry while shopping. 15 E. Kirby (at Woodward).
  2. Pewabic Pottery — Detroit’s historic, world-renowned ceramic arts institution and style is still churning away as a working studio that offers educational programming, exhibitions and a retail store where you can buy everything from heirloom ceramic tiles to beautiful vases and bowls. 10125 E Jefferson Ave.
  3. New Center Area — Find fun Detroit-themed gifts at Pure Detroit or locally designed jewelry at Facets in the historic Fisher Building, get lost in the rare book stacks at the Big Book Store or shop for the traveler at London Luggage Shop. Check out the listing at the New Center Council.
  4. Midtown — Detroit’s up-and-coming zip code offers a lot to chew over, including Avalon International Breads; the eclectic, handmade gifts at City Bird; musty stacks of used vinyl LPs and 45s at People’s Records; bikes and equipment at The Hub; several art galleries and a wealth of collectible bric-a-brac at Mantra. Shop-Midtown.com.
  5. Downtown — Put a feather in your cap at Henry the Hatter, or head down the street for shoes at City Slicker or men’s fashions at Serman’s. Check out the long-running Simmons & Clark Jewelers, or load up on Detroit sports team merch at Sports Mania in Greektown.
  6. Livernois Avenue — Once known as the Avenue of Fashion, the stretch of Livernois between Seven and Eight Mile roads boasts a number of small businesses in a walkable area, including the Simply Casual clothing boutique, Times Square Men’s Clothing and Terry’s Enchanted Garden flowers.

What did I leave out? Tell us where you like to go shopping in the D.

Photo by calamity_hane

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