‘Tis the season for gift giving! And let’s be honest — it can be a bit overwhelming to shop for your spouse, kids, friends, parents, in-laws, grandparents, and that coworker you drew for “Secret Santa.”
When you’re searching for that perfect something for all those “someones,” consider shopping locally first, which helps support the many makers and small businesses in our midst. And we have plenty to choose from! Ann Arbor is home to many talented artisans, many of whom sell their wares at a variety of gift shops in the area. So before you turn to the big-box stores or Amazon, consider perusing these local shops in Ann Arbor. The best part? Each one has an online storefront, so you can shop from the comfort of your home!
PS Save this list for the many gift giving opportunities throughout the year! There’s always a reason to stock up on gifts, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, graduation, housewarming, or “just because.”
415 North 5th Avenue
Occupying an anchor spot on the ground floor of Kerrytown Market & Shops, FOUND is a creatively curated shop featuring work by local artists and makers, along with a collection of jewelry, gifts and home decor. You’ll find a mixture of “found” vintage items along with eclectic brand new pieces, hand-selected by owner Mary Cambruzzi. Both online and in person, you can shop from a wide variety of gifts, including mugs, pots and planters, pillows and throws, jewelry, candles, bath and body products, and much more!
222 North 4th Avenue
Photo Courtesy of Cat Carty Buswell via Thistle & Bess
Also situated in the artsy Kerrytown area, Thistle & Bess brings a refreshing vintage flare to Ann Arbor. Here, you’ll find a mix of antique treasures alongside well-curated goods, including fine jewelry, fashion accessories, barware, bath and beauty products, home accessories, paper goods, and children’s clothing and toys. Thistle & Bess is an active member of the arts community, providing a space for local artists and makers to sell their products. But you’ll also encounter small brands from all over the world, from Brooklyn to London!
319 South Main Street
Roeda Studio specializes in metal art magnets, each cut, primed and hand-painted by talented studio artists. The magnet craze began in 1981 when Carol Roeda began sharing her unique, colorful magnets with the community. Today, her daughter, Amy, runs the family business and continues the legacy of “finding joy in color.” In addition to magnets, Roeda Studio also offers a variety of fun, unique gifts, including kitchenware, jewelry, home decor, candles, stationery, and more.
Photo Courtesy of E-Lo Ceramic Art
Handcrafted ceramics make a timeless, thoughtful gift. And we have many talented ceramic artists in the Ann Arbor community, including Emily LoPresto of E-Lo Ceramic Art. Her current work is centered around functional slip cast ceramic objects for everyday use, with an emphasis on the process of mold making. You can find her work at a variety of shops and galleries all over the country, as well as art fairs in Southeast Michigan. But don’t worry — you don’t have to wait until you stumble upon E-Lo at a fair; you can shop her beautiful collection, which includes mugs, vases, plates, bowls and more, online.
118 North 4th Avenue
The Gutman Gallery is home to some of the most beautiful handmade pieces made by local artists, from jewelry to pottery and prints to paintings. This fine art gallery is home to rotating exhibitions and houses a gallery shop, and also provides a creative space for the community to gather for workshops and creative events. Visit the Gutman Gallery Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. or peruse their list of artists to shop online.
216 South Main Street
Photo Courtesy of Rock Paper Scissors
Rock Paper Scissors invites you to “celebrate everything” — and they make it quite easy with their inventory of celebratory items, from paper goods to a variety of gifts. This bright, inviting store in Kerrytown is packed with fun and quirky gifts to give, including puzzles, stationery, mugs, glasses, books, specialty foods, kids’ toys, candles, balms, cocktail mixers, keychains, decor and more!
419 Detroit Street
Catching Fireflies is a colorful and whimsical gift gallery inviting shoppers to find delight in the simple pleasures, slow down to appreciate the beauty around them, and create joy in their life. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of goodies that will brighten your day. There’s a gift for everyone, from babies to grandmas, and for every occasion, from a birthday to graduation. Catching Fireflies now has three locations throughout Michigan, including their third and largest shop in Kerrytown, which is where their story began many years ago.
2121 West Stadium Boulevard
Photo Courtesy of The Little Seedling
Have a little one on your holiday shopping list? Pick out the perfect gift at The Little Seedling, a local store with adorable clothing and accessories for babies and kids. The story of The Little Seedling began when Molly Ging, also known as “The Diaper Lady,” began selling cloth diapers and started Tree City Diapers. The business has since evolved to include a product lineup of strollers, car seats, apparel and other items, all sold at their new location under a new name. This spacious shop is filled with just about everything you need as a new parent — or for the new parents in your life!
407 North 5th Avenue
Nestled in Kerrytown Shops, 16 Hands specializes in original artisan-made objects for the home, office and garden. Plus, you’ll find beautiful jewelry, fashion accessories and a variety of gifts, all created and curated with care. 16 Hands represents both emerging and established artists and makers, primarily from the U.S., including several local creators based in Ann Arbor. Inventory is always changing, so be sure to stop by or check out their online shop to see what’s in store!
Since they opened their doors in 1927, the Caravan Gift Shop has been a fixture in the Ann Arbor community, welcoming locals and visitors alike to their shop in the historic Nickels Arcade. As one of the oldest retail businesses in the city, Caravan has established an excellent list of vendors, including more than 100 artists here in the U.S. and around the world. Not sure what to give that special someone? They’ve put together a variety of gift boxes with various themes, including a hostess/move-in gift set, a student pick-me-up gift set, a floral gift set, and more.
315 Detroit Street (Sundays through December 19 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.)
If you time your shopping trip just right, you can make it to the Sunday Artisan Market at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market Pavilion every Sunday through December 19, 2021 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The market is a one-stop shop for original, handmade work by more than 30 artists and crafters working in a wide range of media, from pottery to painting. Some artists even give live demonstrations at the market so you can see their creativity in action!
What local shops in Ann Arbor are we missing out on? We’d love to know so we can add them to our list — comment below with your favorite(s)!
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