The Berkley-based shop knows all about the pride that comes from making a map of the Upper and Lower peninsulas with your hands. It sells Michigan-centric gear: sweatshirts, hats, mugs, pins, t-shirts, toys, candles, water bottles, and more promoting the Great Lakes state. Many of the products it stocks are also Michigan-made, according to its website.
While the Berkley location of this indie business calls Metro-Detroit home, Peninsulas embraces Up North via a Cross City location. It’s spreading the love of our fair state far and wide – and what’s not to love about that?
Shop made-in-Michigan at Yellow Door Art Market! The Berkley-based shop champions local makers, featuring goods ranging from clocks to candles, shirts to soaps, magnets to art prints.
Yellow Door offers a great selection of Michigan- and Detroit-focused fare and many fun and funny items (one example: cutting boards emblazoned with sayings such as “Wine makes football more interesting” and “I like pig butts and cannot lie”). There’s handmade jewelry; essential-oil-infused beard oils; stickers emblazoned with inspirational sayings; and candles that smell like Michigan things (by Wyandotte-based candle brand JKM Soy Candles). It’s a treasure trove of delights: the perfect place to purchase a gift (for a loved one or yourself). Treat yourself to a dose of whimsy and step inside Yellow Door!
Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum is an igniter! Visiting it sparks joy, inspiration, creativity, community.
The Detroit-based museum is many things. For starters, it’s a community-fostering and educational space for African Americans, a space for founder Olayami Dabls’ “community to understand the immense power of their African heritage,” as explained on its website.
The Our Story section of Dabls’ website gives a detailed backstory of the museum and its mission that’s wholly worth the read. It explains how Dabls went from working for 15 years at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to build his museum “with the intention to use art for its original purpose in Africa. Instead of using art for entertainment or to make money, he uses art to stimulate emotional and cultural healing.”
While Dabls is a place for African Americans to connect with these aspects of its mission, it welcomes everyone. People of all racial and ethnic backgrounds travel from all over the globe to visit the museum, from far-flung locales such as Germany, the UK, Switzerland, and Gabon. International visitors are featured regularly on the museum’s Instagram account.
A trip to Dabls might start with a visit to its bead gallery. Selling beads that span the decades (some are hundreds of years old), it’s an absolute delight to browse – especially if you’re a crafter. Loose beads are for sale at all manner of price points, crafted from all manner of materials. But fully-formed necklaces are for sale, too.
In the gallery, ’80s-era ceramic beads mingle with beads carved from wood and bone; Lucite beads glisten like marbles. There are beads made from ebony wood and brass, from precious stones such as jade, carnelian, and amber – even 500-year-old hand-carved quartz beads (sold for $80 apiece on Dabls’ website). It’s a glorious site to behold, this bead shop: a kaleidoscope of colors, artisanship, and possibility.
I found a pretty strand of beads already fashioned into a necklace at Dabls’ bead gallery. Round, amber-colored beads streaked with black, they appear to be Lucite. The necklace has a ’70s vibe and regularly finds its way into my wardrobe rotation, making it well worth its $20 price tag.
Dabls himself was manning the shop the day of my visit and was kind enough to give me an overview of the beads housed there. He also gave me free rein to browse the art displayed on the grounds of the museum. It was cold and snowy on the day of my late-January visit, but I didn’t let that stop me from exploring!
That brings us to the art-installation component of Dabls. The 18 art installations on Dabls’ campus are stunning displays of color, texture, and creativity. They’re my favorite kind of art: found object. Scrap metal, wood, mop heads, a tractor: materials such as these meld together to form stunning displays, all artistically enhanced with brushstrokes and splatters of colorful paint.
One display toward the back of the campus is especially stunning. The exterior of the N’kisi House hosts a mural bursting with vibrant colors and textures. It’s an absolutely gorgeous site to behold.
The exterior of the bead gallery is no slouch, either. As you approach its entrance on Vinewood Street, your eyes will be dazzled by an abundance of art: gorgeous, rainbow-colored murals and found-object sculptures.
If you’re looking to experience such a dazzling, treat yourself to a trip to Dabls! Admission is free, though the museum does accept donations; see the Support the Expansion page of its website to donate and learn about its growth plans. I expect that growth will lead to further kindling of creativity!
Snag yourself a statement find at Pivot Maker Collective! Support local artists in the process.
Pivot is an art gallery and shop in Detroit’s Cass Corridor neighborhood; it opened at the end of last year. I stumbled across it during a stroll through the neighborhood, after visits to Bon Bon Bon and Nora.
I wasn’t planning on buying anything when I stopped in; I was simply intrigued by a storefront I’d never seen before. But then I spotted this necklace. It was comprised of gleaming copper circles, linked together to form a triangle. It was gorgeous!
The artist who crafted the striking statement piece, Danny K. Dunbar, was working the shop that day. The copper circles were pennies, Danny explained. That was why Danny had dubbed the piece “changemail” – a punny name reflecting how the shiny, reworked pennies resembled chainmail.
Pivot held more of Danny’s beautiful pieces, plus work by other local artists: paintings and other wall art; candles; clothing; and more. Danny, the originator and organizer of Pivot, explained that the space would also act as a gallery, spotlighting different artists’ work. The first artist showcase happened in February, as Pivot hosted works of painter, sculptor, designer, and curator Uta Brauser.
I don’t know about you, but artist showcases are sounding like the exact antidote I need to cure my end-of-winter doldrums. That’s why I’m following Pivot’s Instagram account (pivotdetroit) so I’m up on the shop’s happenings!
Compelling cheeses and Christmas cheer: that’s what The Cheese Lady was doling up this December!
The downtown Rochester location is one of seven in this female-run business. It’s the sole shop in the Metro-Detroit area, operating out of a grand Victorian house with sky-blue siding and gingerbread trim. The other six stores are further afield, in Michigan cities including Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and Muskegon.
Given The Cheese Lady’s name, it’s no surprise that the dairy-based good is its focus. But The Cheese Lady is no run-of-the-mill cheesemonger. According to its website, it has curated “an impressive selection of 150 artisan cheeses from all over the world.”
That’s a LOT of cheese! And I can attest to the impressiveness of The Cheese Lady’s selection. I went there to pick up a cheese that my friend loves, a mango-ginger Stilton. The white Stilton was studded with chunks of ginger and fruit. For myself, I got the delightfully aged Deer Creek 7 Year Cheddar. It was the perfect touch in a homemade mac ‘n’ cheese.
I went to The Cheese Lady for those tasty cheeses, but I was tempted to buy more. Neat displays of fruits, nuts, crackers, and jams festooned with holly garlands enticed me. The staff was brimming with holiday cheer, too. Everyone I encountered was lovely. Their helpful and kind customer service no doubt extends beyond the holiday season. That and the gorgeous selection of cheeses will bring me back to The Cheese Lady!
Downtown Tarot Company, radiating good vibes throughout downtown Rochester and beyond!
The locally-owned shop sells a sweet selection of spiritually/metaphysically-geared books, crystals, candles, oracle cards, tarot decks, and more. It offers aura photography and physic readings incorporating tools such as tarot and astrology, plus classes on topics ranging from tarot card reading to crystal grids, spell casting to astrology.
During my visit to Downtown Tarot Company in early October, I delighted over its neatly curated collection of colorful crystals. Its candles were especially compelling. Downtown Tarot Company offers its own brand of hand-poured candles. There are zodiac-themed candles; candles embodying specific intentions (such as Protection and Abundance); a line with each candle featuring a different tarot card, crystal, and scent (the Divinatio collection). Candle-obsessed creature that I am, I was in heaven!
I decided on the Cleansing candle from Downtown Tarot Company’s Altare collection. The candle is white wax poured into a tall glass jar, lavender-scented and studded with bits of dried sage and quartz crystal. It’s a beauty! I’ve been breaking it out whenever soothing vibes are in order.
A special candle from a special place, right here in Metro-Detroit! And online. Yep, you can shop Downtown Tarot Company’s wares from the comfort of your own home – though I’d recommend visiting in-person if you can. After all, there’s nothing like an in-person new-place visit!
Hashems is a delight for the senses! Neatly-ordered rows of fragrant coffee and spices and candy in every color of the rainbow greet guests entering this Dearborn-based shop.
I visited Hashems as part of a walking food tour offered by the Arab American National Museum. Hashems was the second of the tour’s three stops (to read about our first stop, click here!).
I debated including Hashems on the blog because it technically doesn’t fit 100 Places in the D criteria. It dictates that I highlight locally-owned businesses in the Metro-Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties) that don’t have locations outside of the state. I made this rule to keep myself from highlighting nationally-sprawling chains. Well, Hashems has three locations in Michigan (two in Dearborn and one in Dearborn Heights) – and another in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon! But it is a family-owned establishment, and it’s not a corporate chain. According to Hashems’ website, Bint Jbeil is where Hashems originated, when Abu Ali Sheik Theeb opened the first store there in 1959. It’s the source of the goodness! And having a store outside of the state certainly doesn’t make Hashems some cookie-cutter conglomerate. So I’m allowing myself to bend the rules here, because Hashems is worth some rule-bending.
The Warren Avenue shop is an emporium of deliciousness, indeed! With its wide selection of fresh-roasted coffee and nuts, dried fruit, tea, hand-prepared spice blends, and candy (SO much candy!), shopping at Hashems is a special experience. During my visit with the Yalla Eat! food tour, I tried its tasty coffee, chocolate-covered fruits and nuts, and Turkish delight. I’d never before had the jelly-like confection, of which Hashems sells numerous varieties. I liked it so much that I bought a Nutella-filled raspberry variety: slices of delight for the road!
13041 W. Warren Ave.
Dearborn, MI 48126
(With additional locations in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights)
Grocery shopping is one of my favorite pastimes – especially when it culminates in a feast, as it did when I visited Super Greenland Market!
The Dearborn-based business is more than an Arabic grocery store with a halal meat counter, bakery, and array of fresh produce. It’s also a vendor of cell phones, hookah, and tea pots; a café that sells fresh-prepared foods; and more.
I was brought to Super Greenland Market via the Yalla Eat! walking tour offered by the Arab American National Museum of Dearborn. The guided tour had us sampling foods at three locally-owned Arabic businesses on Warren Avenue. Super Greenland was our first stop.
Our Yalla Eat! tour guide, Rafat, gave us a comprehensive tour of the market that highlighted staples of Arabic diets, including mloukhieh (a green commonly included in soups and stews), yogurt, tea, and lentils. We got to sample fresh dates, which surprised me with their tartness and how little they tasted like dried dates! But the real sampling came at the end of our visit, when we sat in Super Greenland’s café.
“Sampling” is an inaccurate word to describe the spread that awaited us. It was a veritable feast! We got to try eight of Super Greenland’s prepared foods, including its spinach pies, grape leaves, and falafel. All of them were excellent! My absolute favorite was a couscous dish richly flavored with cumin, bell pepper, and parsley. In contrast, the rice pudding infused with rose water and pistachio was subtle in flavor but just as delicious. Everything we tried at Super Greenland (and on the Yalla Eat! tour as a whole) was vegetarian.
To learn more about the Yalla Eat! walking tours, click here. And to learn more about Super Greenland Market, click the link to its Facebook page shown below. Or, better yet, plan an in-person visit!
12715 W. Warren Ave.
Dearborn, MI 48126
(With additional locations in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights)
Motor City Wine is many things: a wine shop, a wine bar, a host of live music . . . and the site of one of the most gorgeous patios in Detroit!
Motor City Wine’s offerings have obviously been thoughtfully curated. There are more than just the usual varieties from the usually-featured winemaking regions. Stroll through its Instagram account (motorcitywine) to see wines from all over the world: the Czech Republic, South Africa, the country of Georgia. Buy a bottle from the shop and drink it in the bar by paying a $10 corkage fee. Or purchase a glass featured on the bar’s menu. Wine not your thing? Motor City Wine also serves beer.
Live music is another regular offering at Motor City Wine. Its website’s September calendar shows DJs and musicians playing sets Thursdays through Sundays. Restaurant pop-ups are also a regular occurrence.
And that patio! It’s a pretty, greenery-infused retreat – the perfect place to savor a glass of Motor City Wine’s wares.
Max & Ollie’s offers a sweet selection of old and new! The shop in downtown Mount Clemens has a thoughtfully curated collection of vintage clothing, jewelry, accessories, glassware, china, and other home goods. And it’s got brand-new items, too: candles by Mitten Candle Co., for one. Not only are these handmade soy candles crafted made by a friend of mine, they smell downright fabulous (the Firewood scent alone – SO good!).
And Max & Ollie’s is fabulous, too! Not only for stocking my friend’s candles and giving beautiful pre-owned goods a second life, but also for having an owner who is warm and welcoming. This is definitely a small business worth championing!