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Favorite locally owned stores worthy of our networking love?

Do you know a truly great local independent retailer here in SE Michigan who  is quite worthy of some of our networking love, and hasn't gotten squeezed out by all the big box national chains? 

I'm wondering about your favorite places where you specifically shop that are locally owned and operated.   As I drive around, I see endless strip centers, malls and retail space that all could be the same in any major US city.. Tough financial times have made it a challenge for these local heroes to hang in there - but there are a few who actually are making a go of it ... and go unheralded.

Let all us know where you spend your dollars locally to all of us and point us in a direction where our dollars could also make a difference in the local economy.

Replies to this Topic

While I do some of my grocery shopping at La Rosa in Sylvan Lake, I still do the majority of it at Meijer. I understand that this is a bit outside of of a local "independent" retailer, but they are a MI brand.

We stopped shopping at Kroger last year because of a similar conversation to this on MCC. Thanks for bringing it back around Dean.

So I'm going to take you on a little picture tour of three businesses in my downtown/midtown neighborhood. All local or local mini-chains.

One of my favorites is because I love good, nigh, GREAT design.

The Bureau of Urban Living in Detroit on Canfield is AWESOME.  Not huge, but great stuff.  Great neighborhood in the Wayne State Area, across from the headquarters of WDET.


Interested in more Detroit centric gear? (Bureau has some) but for the ultimate Detroit-themed store check out the mini-chain Pure Detroit. They have a GM-focused location in the RenCen, another in Guardian that's more Art-focused (with the ceramic sign from the old Vernor's plant right there), and the easiest to access driving is the one in the Fisher Building on Grand Boulevard (and two minutes away from the BoUL location).  They're also selling 100% organic designs and where I get my favourite seatbelt belt. (Choice of American automakers available in a multitude of colors, also available as a handbag for the ladies).

You like shoes? I'm a guy, so I'm not as particular - but for the ladies, there is a store with locations (I believe) in Rochester, Royal Oak and Midtown Detroit called "Sole Sisters." (Can't find a website, but here's a Model D Story).  Apparently they run from $12 to... $600.  So you could really exercise your local spending muscle...

I gotta go take care of the lawn. But those are the three off the top of my head - there's more but I simply don't have the time to write right now.

So I needed to mention another business that's in a neat location across from the new YMCA and Opera House Garage (all constructed in the last couple years) but in a historic cool building.

This is a high-end furniture pick but there's other things for you to grab. Think Ikea, but the real deal instead of particle board.  They recently moved from downtown Ann Arbor to downtown Detroit to take advantage of the market that's growing like gangbusters.

It's called Mezzanine, and it's tucked away on the second floor of Grand River and Broadway downtown.  I will let the pictures of their stuff tell the story.

Edited Sat, Oct 18, 2008 11:57 AM

Healthy Jones is a healthy lifestyle store. They sell supplements, health and beauty products, sports nutrition, organic tea and other organic products. What sets them apart, besides the fact that they are local, is their *extremely* knowledgeable owners. They are currently in the Novi Towncenter and will be moving into a shopping center on Grand River (4200 Grand River) in January 2009. Their new shopping center also includes Weinstein Jewelers and Mezza restaurant (and several other locally owned businesses).

I can't NOT give a nudge to Catching Fireflies (www.catchingfireflies.com) in Berkley and Rochester. CF features the artists whose items it carries on its website and blog, and is always a great source for interesting, out-of-the-ordinary (but often useful!) goods. They are my first destination for gift shopping all year 'round. They make great use of their blog to stay in touch with their customers, and always provide fabulous customer service. I would love to know how they continue to stay in business -- it must be a great success story!

I'm a huge fan of Kap's Retail for provisions (meat, chicken, pork etc.)  They are located on Riopelle near Eastern Market.  They have a wonderful selection of products and excellent customer service.  I'd suggess that you arrive before 8am on Saturday mornings to beat the rush.

For those of you who love to shop online and like art www.manuelavalenti.com/store

I'm located in Macomb, MI. I sell online worldwide but you can also visit my studio by appointment only. Monday through Friday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Manuela Valenti Studio /

Couple of Awesome places to shop Downriver...

1.  Jerry's Meat Market - 12th and Oak Streets in Wyandotte.  Awesome selection of produce and fresh meat.  If you go there on Sunday around noon, you won't be able to get near the meat counter.!

2. Downriver Clearance, 3359 3rd Street, at Eureka Rd, Wyandotte.  They have great scrubs for $19.99 a pair, awesome selection of purses, shoes, toys, and household items.  All items are brand new, still in original packaging.  Lots of great seasonal stuff as well.


Edited Mon, Oct 20, 2008 2:04 PM

-Not to knock Starbucks, but Biggby's is a Michigan Owned company and the stores are locally owned franchises and they have great coffee and friendly service.

-North Ameican Toner is MICHIGAN made toner for laser printers. While it isn't a store, it is something that we use every day (and an MCC Member).

-Goldner Walsh Garden and Home on Orchard Lake in Pontiac, for landscaping and indoor plants. Tim Travis is very knowledgable about eco friendly gardening.

Just to name a few.

Laurie Slade

Edited Mon, Oct 20, 2008 2:17 PM

Sax Drug & Gifts at Wick and Pardee in Taylor.  Our family have been Sax customers for over 20 years, always great friendly service and reasonable prices.

Given the choice, I choose an independent pharmacist 100% of the time.  The owners are always (it seems) onsite, and always working hard.

Tom's Family Auto Repair on Allen Road between King & West in Woodhaven.  Friendly service, free estimates and basic diagnosis. 

What a great discussion topic!

Edited Tue, Oct 28, 2008 10:00 PM

Eli of Troy Menswear at Long Lake and Rochester. The staff and owner are unbelievably knowledgeable and friendly they are customer oriented.  A big plus is alterations are included.

I agree with Barbara.  Biggby's was once named Beaner's but someone thought the name was discriminatory.  Too many Cheech and Chong movies I guess.

Great conversation!  Biggby is cool, as are MI-based Coffee Beanery and Bearclaw Coffee Co, along with many independents.  My personal fav of those is Coffee Bean Co. on Penniman in Plymouth.  That town is full of fab independent retailers too.  If you want to shop and eat at more Michigan-based alternatives, visit http://www.buymichigannow.com/blue_pages.php where you can search by keyword, category, or location.  Highlighting great examples like these is why we exist.  Oh, and if your favs haven't creating a listing yet, suggest that they do, Basic listings are FREE.  You can also visit  http://www.buymichigannow.com/share_your_success.php to brag about the companies more Michiganders should know about that you love and support.

Most of downtown Plymouth are locally owned stores and resteraunts.  Here are some of my favourites, in no particular order:  Gabriala's, Delta Diamond, The Box Bar, Frame Works, and the irish pub on Penniman (bad me, I can't remember its name).  In Plymouth township, my favourite resteraunt is Karl's Country Cabin.  Great post by the way.

The title of the thread mentioned "Locally Owned Stores" but the first post mentioned "Retail" so forgive me if I'm a bit off topic but the majority of my local consumption is from restaurants...plus I was fat as a little kid, so to this day I fully appeciate a real good meal. 

I live in the Royal Oak area so these selections will happen to be Oakland County oriented...


Best Sushi:
Noble Fish - 14M and Main in Clawson.   Truly one of the best sushi places around - great value, great food, and great atmosphere.  It's hidden in the back of an oriental grocery store, and you always have to wait for a seat which is part of the allure..lol.

Make sure to say hi to Guchi (Head Sushi Chef/Store Mgr., Mikey, and the rest of the crew)

Best Cuban:
Cafe Habana - 419 S. Main - Across from Barnes and Noble -behind Bastones.
GREAT Cuban sandwich.

Best Breakfast:
Toast - Ferndale  -- Truly worth the wait, go check it out!

Best Italian:
This is a toss-up but I personally like 220 in Brimingham.  They have a Spicy Sausage Penne Pasta al dente that is out of this world.

Best Osso Bucco: (Milanese Dish - Veal/Lamb Shanks)
Zinc - 
It's a Wine Bar in W. Bloomfield.  You HAVE to get it past 4-5pm though, so it has time to marinate/cook all day.

Best Lebanese Food:
Anita's Kitchen - 
Off Main, South of 9 Mile in Ferndale.
Great value and unbelievable Chicken Shwarma..


(Sorry Charlie Curve - Know any Cake Places?!)

Hard Scoop - Ray's Ice Cream - On Coolidge between 13M and 14Mile
Best flavors by far: Black Cherry, Cake Batter, CINNAMON (Yum!), Pumpkin Pie, Blueberry Pie (Seasonal), and Cookie Dough

Best Soft Serve:
For yogurt - I recommend Dairy Mat off of Woodward and Maple.  Better Frozen Yogurt than anywhere else I've tried.  I highly recommend the "Rainbow Cone" which is a Waffle Cone that is dipped in Cherry Hard-Di then coated with Sprinkles!

Best Frozen Custard:
Not sure of it's name but i's right beside Al's Famous Deli, just north of 13 Mile on Woodward.  They have a big sign that says "Frozen Custard - Phenomenal"


BEST PART ABOUT ALL THIS: To my knowledge, every one of these restaurants is locally owned.  And sorry if I went too indepth about the ice cream, I told you I was a fat kid once who has an obsession with ice cream :)



P.S. - For great restauant reviews, check out www.Yelp.com

Edited Tue, Oct 28, 2008 10:01 PM

Well gee! If we're adding eating and ice cream places...

Sorellas Bakery on 5 & Merriman, best buttercream frosted cakes and Italian pastires.

Guernsey's on Novi Road between 8 & 9 Mile, best home made ice cream and best broasted chicken.  They serve you a free serviing of flavor of the day with any meal :)

New Hong Kong on Telegraph North of Wick in Taylor best General's Chicken with your choice of mild, medium or spicy hot sauce and they also have good American food if you have a dining partner with a less adventurous palate....very generous portions.

Edited Tue, Oct 28, 2008 10:02 PM

I am quite gratified for such a strong response, since it's too easy to look for the same old same ol' stores and places, only now closer to where we work and live. I also know that many of these shops would have to lock their doors in order to attend MCC lunches and other networking events. Keep weighing in on great neighbors, friends and members of our community - places that have earned our trust and our dollars!

Wow, Andrew, thanks for listing Cafe Habana - I fell in love with Cuban food on a visit to NYC last year and have been hankerin' for it ever since.

I have to put in a plug for The Clothes Closet in Rochester - it is a clothing outlet for client's of the Rochester Area Neighborhood House (all clothing is donated), but they are open to the public on Wednesdays as a "resale" shop. The best part of shopping there is you can find some great slightly-used items, and your dollars go to support the charity... recycled clothes, recycled dollars.


I choose "Pointe Hardware" o Kercheval in Grosse Pointe Park, MI.  It has survived and thrives in this world of Home Depots and the like.  It is truly an independent, family owned store.  Various members of the family work there and will go out of their way to help you resolve whatever home, business and even marine issue that you might have which requires a hardware input.  It still will sell sandpaper by the sheet as well as SS screws individually, etc. and not make you buy everythng in bulk!  It is more than the neighborhood hardware.  And if you want a little Hollywood touch, it is the store that Clint Eastwood used in the movie he filmed here this summer and even used employees there as his extras, how about that for GO MICHIGAN!   Dr. Randi Lou

How about Calder's Dairy?  Great milk, ice cream and OMG - what about the egg nog!!!!  They even have farm tours - fun for the whole family!

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