Shops

444. Sawmill Creek Farms – November 9, 2019 – Richmond, MI

November2019SawmillCreek1 (2)November2019SawmillCreek2 (2)Sawmill Creek Farms, I’m so happy to have been introduced to you!!!

The Richmond-based family-run farm breeds livestock and sells the resulting wares at a shop on the farm premises. A coworker brought the farm to my attention, raving about how great tasting the meat was, how reasonable the prices were, and how well treated the animals appeared to be.

Her high praises had me intrigued. Scoping out Sawmill Creek Farms’ website, I read about the husband-and-wife duo, Sarah and Nick, who run the farm and their philosophy of raising livestock humanely, livestock fed on grain and hay grown on the farm and without antibiotics or hormones added to their diet, as well as the farm’s use of an USDA-inspected processing facility to process the animals into meat and its holding of a retail food license.

Liking what I saw on that website,  I knew a visit to Sawmill Creek Farms was in order. So on a sunny Saturday in early November (just two days before that snowstorm that dumped mega inches on us!), I jaunted out to Richmond.

Perched at the edge of Memphis Ridge Road, Sawmill Creek Farms’ shop was easy to spot as I approached it. It was a welcoming sight with its neat red exterior with white shutters and trim and its cheery fall displays of hay bales, pumpkins, and potted mums.

Stepping inside the shop, I was greeted by Sarah and a visiting customer who was chatting with her. One of Sarah’s two young boys bounced about on a couch in the corner, playing and watching TV.

Sarah explained how each of the white freezers inside the shop was labelled with the different cuts of meat it held. She handed me price lists showing the current costs of the cuts of meat offered as well as a sheet explaining six available meat bundles. She mentioned that depending on the current availability, some of the products offered might not be available at that time.

I was so excited to mine those freezers! They were filled with all manner of cuts of beef, chicken, and pork, plus sausages and bologna. The cuts available ranged from chicken breasts to bacon to beef fajita meat to various types of roasts to various types of steaks to pork chops . . ..

From this dizzying array, I selected: seven pounds of ground beef; two whole chickens; a beef rump roast; and a packet of pork country ribs. I got all of this (plus a Sawmill Creek Farms reusable shopping bag, which I received for free for spending a certain amount) for around $80, which I found to be quite reasonable. My haul is shown in the photo above.

While Sarah was ringing up my order, we chatted about the farm. She confirmed that the animals are allowed to roam the Sawmill Creek Farms pastures during their lives there and are so beloved by her and her family that a few have been taken out of eligibility for processing and designated pets (which she said her husband jokingly refers to as “hay-burners”). I told her how happy I was to find a place that raised meat ethically, how I am an unabashed meat eater but that it’s important to me to buy meat for my home cooking that comes from animals that have had a good life and how such meat can be hard to find.

I really enjoyed chatting with Sarah and getting to shop at her family’s store. I have also enjoyed getting into the Sawmill Creek Farms wares! Since my visit about three weeks ago, I have roasted one of the whole chickens I purchased and cooked two of the pounds of ground hamburger meat I bought (incorporating one into chili and the other into tacos), and all of the meat has tasted most delicious. In my book, Sawmill Creek Farms is emphatically a keeper.

If you are a meat eater and live in the area, I encourage you to check this farm out! Knowing where your meat comes from is most definitely a good feeling.

76320 Memphis Ridge Rd.

Richmond, MI 48062

(Closed Sundays and Mondays)

www.sawmillcreekfarmsllc.com

433. Hugh – September 22, 2019 – Detroit, MI

September2019Hugh1 (3)September2019Hugh2 (2)Hugh, in a nutshell, sells pretty things!

A more accurate assessment of the shop based in Detroit’s Cass Corridor neighborhood is that it sells items that are both aesthetically pleasing AND functional: well-designed home goods such as glassware, barware, candles, clocks, coffee-table books, and furniture, plus personal care items and accessories.

Hugh’s interior is a well-organized place, pleasing to browse. The woman working the store the Sunday afternoon I visited was welcoming, and while I didn’t end up buying anything, I was especially intrigued by the Chemex coffee makers, elegant glass vessels (which remind me of beakers with their middles cinched) used to make pour-over coffee. Now that I’ve read this post on Hugh’s blog about the history of these coffee makers, I’m feeling increasingly taken with them. Maybe it’s time for a revisit?

If you aren’t in the area, you can still shop for Hugh’s pretty-slash-purposeful wares via its website (which also shows more furniture available for sale than is on display in its brick-and-mortar store).

4240 Cass Ave, Ste. 107

Detroit, MI 48201

(Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)

www.thankhugh.com

428. Nora – August 25, 2019 – Detroit, MI

August2019Nora1 (3)My trip to Nora was a visit-within-a-visit!

After purchasing a ticket at Cinema Detroit on a Sunday afternoon in late August and finding myself a half-hour early for the movie I was there to see, I decided to make a quick jaunt to nearby Nora to check it out and kill some time before the show.

It took some brisk walking to and from the theater and the shop based in the Cass Corridor neighborhood of Detroit to make the visit happen, but: mission accomplished! I was able to browse Nora’s beautifully curated collection of books, home goods, beauty care, clothing, greeting cards, accessories, and other items.

A striking collection of conically-shaped taper candles in various sizes and colors caught my eye, and I opted to purchase a turquoise one in the smallest size. The woman working the shop that day (who I presume is the owner) was friendly and welcoming in her interactions with me, as she was when I returned several weeks later to select another of the candles to accompany the first one (which looked like it needed a friend to join it on its perch on my family room table).

So, the verdict is in: whether you only have a few minutes to spare or time for an expanded browsing session, Nora is worth a visit! It’s an ideal place to pick up a thoughtful gift or eye-catching item for your home.

4240 Cass Ave., Ste. 109

Detroit, MI 48201

www.noramodern.com

416. POST – June 30, 2019 – Detroit, MI

June2019Post1 (2)June2019Post2 (2)Here’s a post I’m especially excited about: my post on POST! Yes, I’m totally being punny here, but truly, this place is AH-MAZING!

Housed in a former U.S. Post Office building on the East Side of Detroit, POST is a retail space selling handmade goods made by independently-owned companies and individual artisans – about 100 in total, according to its website. The shop is owned by Mutual Adoration, a local woodworking business that makes custom furniture and other goodies constructed from reclaimed wood.

Approaching POST on a sunny Sunday afternoon in late June, I dug its red-and-white façade, which maintains old-timey post-office vibes.

I got especially excited when I entered POST’s interior, because WOW! does this place have a lot of beautiful pieces for sale! There are picture frames and pottery and wall art and candles, greeting cards and scented soap and artfully arranged bouquets . . . POST is a haven for handcrafted delights.

It’s also a haven for makers to practice the hand-crafting themselves – because POST is not simply a store; it’s also a workshop space. Every month, it hosts a plethora of classes on topics such as screen printing, jewelry making, weaving, and floral arrangement.

I find scrolling through POST’s online schedule of classes addictively inspiring – I want to try ALL the things!

But the thing I decided I wanted to try most this summer was a woodworking class where we made wall art from scraps of reclaimed wood that we painted and stained and arranged inside a frame. That was the main reason I was visiting POST on this Sunday afternoon.

The class was a blast. It lasted about four hours and was taught by the owners of Mutual Adoration, Clare and Wayne. They were really kind, patient instructors. Moreover, they served a lovely spread of snacks: fruit and hummus and chips and cake – plus wine that could be enjoyed after the use of the heavy machinery.

There were about 12 of us class participants sifting through piles of reclaimed wood of different sizes and varieties, then painting and staining and cutting and arranging and gluing and trimming and nailing . . .. We got to use power tools such as a mechanized saw and a nail gun to aid in the making, and we got to enjoy the company of each other, us like-minded souls who find crafting to be the cat’s pajamas.

I left POST on that afternoon with a singular piece of wall art made from scraps of walnut and other striking wood, some painted purple or orange or sage-green or maroon, others stained to a deeper patina or left exactly as I’d found them. The piece hangs on a wall in my home office, a reminder of the thrill of creating that I channeled during the workshop. Thank you, POST, for cultivating this space that champions creativity and indie entrepreneurs!

Worth noting: POST is closed Sundays through Tuesdays, except to participants of classes being held on those days; workshop attendees are offered the ability to browse and make purchases pre- and post-session.

14500 Kercheval Ave.

Detroit, MI 48215

www.mutualadoration.com/pages/post-detroit

401. Candle Wick Shoppe – March 19, 2019 – Ferndale, MI

March2019CandleWickShoppe1 (2)March2019CandleWickShoppe3 (2)March2019CandleWickShoppe2 (2)After cozy journaling time at Civitas Coffee House in Hazel Park on a Tuesday afternoon in mid-March, I continued on to downtown Ferndale, where I visited a place I’d long been curious about: Candle Wick Shoppe.

The store sells all kinds of high-vibing products: candles, crystals, essential oils, incense, books, jewelry, and other goodies. According to its website, reiki sessions are also offered through the shop.

While at Candle Wick Shoppe, I enjoyed interacting with the friendly sales clerk, who helped me pick out my purchases. I went with a smoothly polished and satisfyingly hefty rose quartz stone, a rainbow-luminescent stone called opalite, and a tall blue candle dedicated to the third-eye chakra.

I love crystals for their different meanings and their beauty, and I’m obsessed with candles (I burn them daily), so I was happy to add to my collection of both – as happy as I was to soak up the calming, positive energy radiated by Candle Wick Shoppe.

175 W. 9 Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.candlewickshoppe.com

398. Three Cats Café – March 15, 2019 – Clawson, MI

March2019ThreeCatsCafe1 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe2 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe4 (2)After my visit to the lovely Leon & Lulu on a Friday night in mid-March, I continued on to the Three Cats Café, its sister business just next-door.

I was enchanted with the place. The Clawson-based establishment is more than a café housed in a former movie theater, its glittery marquee intact and its street-facing ticket booth still present, complete with a “talking” vendor mannequin rattling off facts about the place. It’s also an expansive shop selling artwork, mugs, handmade cards, and other perfect-for-gifting goodies, much of which are locally made and/or Michigan-centric.

The café counter of Three Cats Café is in the front of the building, near the entrance, while the shop/seating area is behind it. The nature of my visit (a pre-dinner-date jaunt) didn’t allow me to sample any of the café’s delectable-sounding soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and other goodies (though the Not Your Mama’s Grilled Cheese w/ Cup of Tomato Basil Soup on its current online menu is hitting me pretty hard with the cravings right now!). Instead, I opted for a cappuccino from its menu of coffee and tea drinks.

This cappuccino was steamy, creamy, foam-laden deliciousness that I enjoyed while sitting at a table in the Three Cats shop/seating area. It’s a brightly colored, aesthetically pleasing space, an ideal place to retreat from the outside world and relax. I could feel myself unwinding with every sip.

116 W. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.threecatscafe.com

397. Leon & Lulu – March 15, 2019 – Clawson, MI

March2019LeonandLulu2 (2)March2019LeonandLulu3 (2)Leon & Lulu, what a breath of fresh air you were for me!

I’d been wanting to visit the Clawson-based store since I’d learned about it several years prior, and having some time to kill before a nearby dinner date with a friend on a Friday night in mid-March, I decided to check it out.

It’d been a rough couple of weeks for me from an emotional standpoint. I was in need of that giddiness I get from visiting an awesome new place. And I definitely got it when I stepped inside Leon & Lulu.

The place is a cornucopia of brightly colored, aesthetically beautiful delights! Upon stepping inside Leon & Lulu’s large storefront, I immediately felt the relief of the baddie feelings melting away, replaced by a jolt of excitement.

An employee greeted me immediately, and when I told him it was my first time visiting the shop, he welcomed me and explained how the building was a former roller rink (a disco ball from back then is still suspended from the ceiling).

I got to exploring. Leon & Lulu is packed with artwork, furniture, and other home goods; clothing, jewelry, and bags; pottery, candles, and potholders emblazoned with snarky sayings. It also stocks books, toys, funny socks, stationary, handmade greeting cards, Michigan-centric items, and loads more.

Leon & Lulu is one of those places where you can go to get a fabulous, one-of-a-kind item that makes the perfect gift. Many of the products it proffers have a humorous bent, such as a book it recently featured in an Instagram post titled The Best Places to Pee: A Guide to the Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland.

After about a half hour of browsing, I opted to go the humorous route with my purchase, buying an oven mitt decorated with a drawing of a 1950s-esque woman cooking and the caption “droppin’ a new recipe on your ass.”

The explosion of creativity on display at Leon & Lulu, the beauty and the whimsy of the items sold, and the friendly customer service that I received provided much-needed emotional respite to me that night, and for that, I am exceptionally grateful. My visit there was a reminder of the power of exploring to positively shake up one’s life, to get the good energies going. Whatever mood you’re in, this one is definitely worth a visit!

96 W. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.leonandlulu.com

390. House of Pure Vin – February 3, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019HouseofPureVin1 (2)February2019HouseofPureVin2 (2)House of Pure Vin!!!! What a delight this wine shop is. It also has the distinction of being the 50th – and final – locally-owned, new-to-me place that I visited in Detroit proper during Blog Year Five (which ran from February 8, 2018 through February 7, 2019). My 50-visits-in-Detroit-in-one-year goal was achieved!!!!!

When I walked into House of Pure Vin, one of the owners welcomed me and urged me to browse the carefully curated selection of reds and whites from wineries all over the world. She later joined me mid-browse and offered me samples of a few wines that were out to taste, then showed me the room where tasting events are held and explained the shop’s wine club.

House of Pure Vin’s monthly wine club is offered in two tiers. The Beaujolais membership is $35 a month and allows subscribers the choice of two bottles of wine per month, plus the ability to attend store-run tastings and events exclusive to club members. Additionally, a patron of this membership tier is afforded the ability to schedule two private wine tastings a year for himself/herself and up to nine guests. It also affords a 10 percent discount in-store. The Grand Cru wine club membership is $75 a month and allows the choice of two bottles of exclusive-tier wines (wines not offered in-shop) per month; four annual private tastings for the subscriber and up to nine other guests; invites to store-held events exclusive to club members; and a 20 percent discount in-store. Monthly wine selections can be picked up in-store by club members or shipped to their homes for an additional fee of $10 per month.

I appreciated the owner of House of Pure Vin who I met during my visit for taking the time to give me a personal tour of the store, explaining the wine club membership and tastings, and giving me free samples. At the end of our interaction, I was very tempted to join the Beaujolais-level wine club! I find it quite reasonable in value, and it’s a someday-goal that I hope to achieve in the near future, belonging to a wine club, as I LOVE wine and wouldn’t mind stepping up my sophistication around it and veering away from those budget-bottle grocery store varieties!

I did conclude my visit at House of Pure Vin that day by purchasing a bottle of one of the wines I sampled, a lovely white-wine blend (called Oriana) by Washington-based winery Brian Carter Cellars. It’s still sitting in my improvised wine cellar (a basement closet), awaiting a special occasion. That special occasion may simply turn out to be a beautiful summer’s evening sometime very soon. 🙂

1433 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.houseofpurevin.com

389. Bird Bee – February 3, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019BirdBee2 (2)My barrage of visits to cap off my visit-50-places-in-Detroit initiative for Blog Year 5 of 100 Places in the D continued on February 3 with a stop at Bird Bee, a clothing store for women and those who enjoy wearing clothing traditionally identified as female.

The shop was loaded with beautiful and stylish jeans, blouses, sweaters, dresses, and other apparel and accessories, as well as gift-worthy items such as candles and cocktail accessories. While I didn’t make a purchase, I enjoyed browsing its wares and chatting with the friendly sales clerk about a recent café opening that the city was abuzz about, that of Cannelle by Matt Knio (which – spoiler! – will end up on this blog once I catch up to mid-May).

1228 Griswold St.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.shopbirdbee.com

388. The Farmer’s Hand – February 3, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019Farmer'sHand2 (2)February2019Farmer'sHand3 (2)After lunch at Folk and shopping at Mama Coo’s Boutique on a sunny Sunday in early February, I stepped into The Farmer’s Hand, the Corktown grocer adjacent to the restaurant and vintage clothing store.

The tiny shop showcases a thoughtful curation of locally-produced fruits, veggies, cheeses, and other grocery goods, such as Mindo Chocolates (produced in Dexter) and my perennial obsession, Gus and Grey jams (one of Detroit’s finest exports, in my opinion!). Baked goods, salads, sandwiches, and other ready-made items are also available for purchase, as are coffee and tea. A window-facing counter allows patrons to eat, drink, and relax in-shop before heading out to face the rest of their day, foodie fuel in hand.

1701 Trumbull Ave.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.thefarmershand.com