Supply chain issues. Labor shortages. Delivery challenges. ’Tis the season.
With Black Friday looming and early shopping already underway, Michigan businesses are ready to welcome eager shoppers looking for a deal. There are plenty of local shops to check out across the state if you’re looking for the perfect gift for your special Michigander, and even some Michigan-themed gifts for the out-of-state wannabes in your life.
Check out these places across Michigan that are worth a day trip:
Croswell Opera House, Adrian
For friends and family who value experiences over more stuff, give the gift of live, local entertainment.
Tickets are now on sale for the Croswell Opera House’s 2022 Special Event Series, which runs from January through May.
The first show in the series, running from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6, is the Croswell’s all-area high school musical, a tradition that began in 2010 and has taken place every year except 2021. This year’s selection is “Les Miserables,” the Tony Award-winning show that’s one of the longest-running musicals in the world. The cast is drawn from 10 high schools across southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.
Later in February, the Croswell will stage a tribute to the music of Whitney Houston titled “Classic Whitney: Alive!” The concert is headlined by Kevin Smith Kirkwood, a Toledo native who was part of the original Broadway cast of the musical “Kinky Boots.”
“It’s more than just a tribute concert and it’s more than just a drag show,” Croswell Opera House artistic director Jere Righter said. “Kevin is a first-class entertainer and it’s a real honor for us to have him perform at the Croswell.”
“Classic Whitney: Alive!” will take the stage on Feb. 19.
Next up, running one weekend from March 4-6, will be a production for young audiences titled “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” Based on the classic children’s book of the same name, it’s the story of a struggling house painter named Mr. Popper who unexpectedly finds himself raising a family of hungry penguins. He has no idea how to make ends meet with so many extra mouths to feed until he hits on the idea of training the penguins to put on a traveling vaudeville act.
The comedy “Boeing Boeing” will run from March 26 to April 3. “Boeing Boeing” is a classic farce written by French playwright Marc Camoletti that has been adapted into English. Set in the 1960s, it centers on a Paris bachelor who is engaged to three women, all flight attendants, with none of them knowing about the others.
The Toledo-based band Not Fast Enuff will present a concert of ’80s rock hits on April 23. This band previously performed during the Croswell’s outdoor concert series in August 2020.
The southern gospel quartet Ernie Haase + Signature Sound will perform on May 8. This concert was originally scheduled for 2020 and canceled due to the pandemic. The group has performed all over the world, including in Latvia, India, South Africa and New Zealand.
In addition to these events, the Croswell is organizing a festival of one-act plays on the second weekend in April. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Croswell’s Christmas musical, the stage adaptation of the classic movie “A Christmas Story,” opens Friday, Nov. 26, and runs through Dec. 12. Another upcoming holiday show is Under the Streetlamp: Hip to the Holidays on Dec. 18. Under the Streetlamp, the acclaimed doo-wop band founded by Adrian native Shonn Wiley, will perform a collection of Christmas classics.
Buy tickets at croswell.org or by calling 517-264-7469.
Other entertainment options include the Adrian Symphony Orchestra and shows at the Tecumseh Center for the Arts. The ASO’s December concert is “Messiah,” featuring Handel’s “Messiah” with two choirs and four soloists. Other upcoming concerts are “Star Wars Universe” Feb. 18, “Strings in Spring” March 20, “Tchaikovsky 5” April 29 and “Sounds of Summer” June 4. Buy tickets at www.adriansymphony.org or by calling 517-264-3121.
Upcoming performances at the TCA include the Tecumseh Pops Orchestra and Community Chorus’ Christmas concert Dec. 5, “The Nutcracker Ballet” Dec. 9, the TCA Big Band and Vocalaires’ holiday concert Dec. 12, the MST Dance Center’s Winter Showcase Dec. 18, the TCA Comedy Show Jan. 22, Lightwire Theater Feb. 2, Irish dance troupe Rhythm of the Dance March 20, and the Motown tribute band Phase 5 April 23. Order tickets at thetca.org or call 517-423-6617.
Each year up to 6 million visitors are greeted by the giant bears outside the main doors of Cabela’s as they prepare to wander through the outdoor clothing and equipment giant off US-23 at Exit 11 in Dundee, north of the Ohio state line.
With Cabela’s now joined with Bass Pro Shops’ Red Head brand, visitors will find the 225,000-square-foot retail store packed with hunting, fishing and camping gear.
The store features an indoor mountain that includes numerous inanimate wild animals set against their natural habitats. The store also has a running stream stocked with rainbow trout. Visitors also can wander through the aquarium that’s home to various species of Michigan fish.
After shopping at Cabela’s, enjoy a bite to eat or your favorite craft beer at the Great Lakes Eatery and Pub across the road. The restaurant features Michigan-themed sandwiches and entrees and numerous choices of cold beer.
Southern Michigan’s Heritage Trail
The journey along the Heritage Trail, which runs near Hillsdale and through Coldwater and Sturgis, might be as interesting as any single destination.
The trail runs for about 50 miles between Hillsdale and Sturgis. It takes about an hour to drive, but you’d miss a lot whipping down the highway toward one destination. Between the two cities are the towns of Jonesville, Allen and Quincy, each offering their own worthwhile attractions.
Start your journey in Hillsdale, five miles south of U.S. 12. Home to Hillsdale College, the town’s annual influx of students helps its downtown support a variety of interesting shops.
Head five miles south to Jonesville and you’ll find Power’s Clothing, family-owned since 1890. Selling Carhartt clothing since 1892, they’re the oldest Carhartt dealer in the U.S. Olivia’s Chop House and Rosalie’s Roadhouse offer unique but very different dining experiences.
Further west on U.S. 12 is Allen, the self-proclaimed antique capital of Michigan. A cluster of vintage and antique shops, barns and malls dominate the village and outskirts verifying the claim. Lucy and Nellie’s, a lake cottage shop, is among the mix. The Outpost Grille, surrounded by antique barns, offers comfort food in a homey atmosphere.
Quincy, next on the map, sits on a chain of five lakes from Marble Lake to Coldwater Lake. Downtown you’ll find Refuge Coffee Shop, 10 East Treasures and Book Haven among other shops and restaurants.
Coldwater, the largest town on the trail, is at the intersection of I-69 and U.S. 12. A new addition to its downtown is Two Bandits Brewing Co. Housed in the old Kerr building, the Ohio-based brewery makes beer on-site and serves a range of food. Kerr memorabilia decorates the walls and a motorcycle serves as the base for one of the tables.
About 25 miles from Coldwater is Sturgis. Its revitalized downtown offers a variety of shopping. Willer’s Shoes, Craftman’s Daughter and Sportsarama sell specialty clothing, while Open Door Art Gallery, York Mercantile and Designs by Vogt’s offer unique home decor. Olive Fresh draws in foodies with its selection of oils and vinegars, and Five Lakes Coffee sells coffee brewed from their freshly roasted beans.
Break up the shopping with some recreation at the Sturgis Historical Museum at the Depot, which houses an impressive model railroad set and a gift shop of all things Sturgis.
Apothecary Gift Shop, Holland
Located in one of the most historic and prominent storefronts in downtown Holland, Apothecary Gift Shop at 35 W. Eighth St. is a one-stop shop for gift-givers looking for something unique. The store carries handbags, jewelry, cards, Michigan and Holland-themed merchandise, toys, games and other accessories.
The storefront’s history can be traced back to the late 1800s. Before it was Apothecary Gift Shop, the business was Model Drug Store for over 50 years, owned by Keith and Barb Ditch — parents of current owner Sharon Fisher and grandparents of store manager Jennifer Foley. The pharmacy was removed and the business was renamed in 2015.
While you’re in town:
Visit one of Holland’s newest entertainment venues, Sperry’s Moviehouse, at 84 W. Eighth St.
Grab lunch and dessert at Crane’s in the City, a cozy cafe with sandwiches, doughnuts and fresh pie, at 11 E. Eighth St.
Continue your shopping at several dozen boutiques along Eighth Street — both new and historic.
Smith’s Creek Alpacas Christmas Shop, Kimball Township
Those looking to mix holiday shopping with family fun don’t have to look any further than north of Port Huron to Smith’s Creek Alpacas Christmas Shop at 956 Burns Road.
George Dzierzbicki and Sherry Miramonti live there along with seven alpacas, two goats, two dogs, a cat or two “and a partridge in a pear tree,” Dzierzbicki joked.
The couple got married on the farm in 2003 and in 2005 started to raise alpacas. All the animals are retired and the couple no longer breeds or shows them. “They’re just living their best life,” Miramonti said.
Now, the couple sells goods made from the alpacas’ fiber.
Many families have made visiting the shop a tradition and know the animals by name. Miramonti said the first thing kids tend to do is jump out of the car and run to see the alpacas. The best part of running the Christmas shop is the look on children’s faces when they realize everything in the store is made from the alpacas’ fiber, she said.
Customers can buy yarn, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, socks, dolls, pillows and more at Smith’s Creek. About half of the products are made by a Tennessee co-op where the couple sends alpaca fiber; the other half are products from Peru.
The shop is open noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
While you’re in town:
Check out Green Barn Winery, a family-operated business that crafts small vats of distinct wines and meads from local farms.
Horrocks Farm Market, Lansing
This sprawling 70,000-square-foot business at the corner of Saginaw Highway and Canal Road just west of Lansing is so much more than a farm market — and worth experiencing during the holiday season.
There, you’ll find plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers, but also 1,200 different beers and thousands of wines, plus candy, coffee and popcorn produced on-site.
Founded in 1959, the store is stocked with fresh soup, sushi, cheese, bread, specialty groceries and bakery items.
Customers can also sample drinks from Horrocks’ tavern and get dishes of Iorio Gelato while they browse clothing, books, wind chimes and other tchotchkes for sale.
Its newest additions — an outdoor beer garden with a rotating lineup of food trucks and a takeout pizzeria — both opened during the pandemic.
While you’re in town:
Try a seafood boil at The Tangy Crab located just across Saginaw Highway, or head two miles down the road to get some ribs, pulled pork, brisket and chicken at Smoke ‘N Pig BBQ off Elmwood Road near the Lansing Mall.
By Popular Demand The Collective, Detroit
It’s not exactly a mall, but it’s the same concept: a one-stop shopping destination for items ranging from clothing to home goods and more.
By Popular Demand houses 24 small businesses in a retail space at 6540 Saint Antoine St. in Detroit, a few steps from the Fisher Building in the New Center area.
The store was founded by husband and wife Devin and Daisha McKenzie in 2020. They opened their doors a year ago on Black Friday.
“It’s been a really great year” said Daisha, who operates her own business, Trinkets & Such, in the collective. “And as the world has opened up and the holiday season is near, I am really excited to see how more people will come out and experience the vibe that we curated in this space.”
Aside from the marketplace of small shops, the collective also houses a makeup studio, art gallery and photography studio on its upper level.
The store is open to the public every day except Monday from noon to 7 p.m., but for the holidays, it will open an hour earlier and close an hour later. On Black Friday, the shop will offer 15% off every merchant’s collection and give away a free cup of cocoa with every purchase. The sale will run through the holiday season and end on New Year’s Eve.
MIgardener, Port Huron
“If someone is into gardening, we’re basically the place to be,” said Luke Marion, who owns MIgardener in downtown Port Huron with his wife, Sindy.
The store has over 750 different vegetable seeds and almost any garden tool you can imagine. Marion’s aim is to provide a curated experience customers can’t get at a big box store, he said.
MIgardener started out as a YouTube channel in 2011 and as of early November had 966,000 subscribers.
Marion started the channel out of a passion for connecting people to where their food comes from.
The store sells seeds, fertilizer, tools, garlic bulbs, a book Marion wrote to help people grow their own food and more.
MIgardener plans to move to 1426 Oakland St. in St. Clair. Marion hopes to be in the new space in December. People can follow the store on Facebook, subscribe on YouTube and contact the business at (810) 300-8845 or email@example.com.
While you’re in town:
Visit Port Huron Museums. There are four Port Huron Museum sites to choose from, including the Huron Lightship and the Thomas Edison Depot Museum.
Check out Raven Café. Part Hogwarts and part “Cheers,” this bar and café is stocked with books, eccentric and macabre art, a full espresso bar, rotating microbrews, a cocktail lounge, nine soups, free Wi-Fi and more.
IKEA, Canton Township
Ford Road in Canton Township may be daunting for those not used to the busy five-lane roads of suburban Detroit. But as people across the state can attest, there’s a big reason why so many will trek to western Wayne County, especially when it’s time for holiday shopping.
For those willing to venture along Interstate 275, there’s plenty to reward holiday shoppers at Michigan’s lone IKEA store, located at 41640 Ford Road.
The Swedish store is known for its sprawling showroom of furniture, including couches, dining room tables and bedroom sets. Those looking for the ultimate gift can even buy an entire kitchen remodel. Be ready for a wait, though: It’s a popular destination, attracting people from all over to shop under the blue and gold Nordic cross.
While you’re in town:
Looking for local flavor? The Takeout Box, Famous Hamburger, Samosa Factory, Palermo Pizzeria and Restaurant and Maverick’s are a few choices that jump out. For dessert, head to Luca Pastry, an Italian bakery known for its sweet treats worthy of taking home (if they last that long).