Why Shopping Local in Metro Detroit is a Growing Trend

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Metro Detroit residents are fans of shopping local, and they love to show their support for local businesses. Check out a few of these Metro Detroit hotspots that are becoming a part of the fast-growing local shopping trend!

Birmingham


Local Shopping Metro Detroit
A must for shopping in the Metro Detroit area, downtown Birmingham features almost 300 stores, many of which are local businesses. Birmingham’s high-end apparel, furniture, and jewelry stores are accompanied by trendy boutiques and restaurants. A magnet for local businesses, the local shopping scene in downtown Birmingham is growing every year!

Troy


Local Shopping Metro Detroit
Troy has several shopping centers that feature local merchants. Somerset Collection, the largest mall in Michigan, is a mainstay for shopping in the Metro Detroit area. Oakland Mall and other shopping centers help make Troy a local hub for shopping.

Eastern Market


Local Shopping Metro Detroit
Eastern Market’s open-air environment provides a unique and exciting local shopping experience. A Metro Detroit community staple since the 1800s, Eastern Market is a great place to discover local vendors and find great deals shopping for food and drinks. In the summer, the market features special Sunday events where shoppers can find antiques, jewelry, and more.

Downtown Detroit


Local Shopping Metro Detroit
Downtown Detroit features many local merchants that contribute to a massive, diverse hub for shopping. Historic Greektown features restaurants and stores that sample the history and culture of Greece. Shopping in the vibrant Midtown area is great for people looking for trendy boutiques and unique restaurants that reflect its young, creative residents.

Dearborn


Local Shopping Metro Detroit
In Dearborn’s several business districts, local shopping thriving. The area features some of the best middle-eastern and Italian restaurants and shops in the Metro Detroit area, and most are locally owned. The Fairlane shopping center is one of the area’s largest malls and also features several local merchants.

Bloomfield Township


Local Shopping Metro Detroit
This area features great Metro Detroit local shopping. Downtown Bloomfield Hills is home to many small businesses to shop and explore. The township is also home to Bloomfield Plaza, Orchard Mall, and Kingwoods Plaza, all of which are shopping centers featuring local merchants.

Royal Oak


Local Shopping Metro Detroit
This Metro Detroit suburb boasts a lively downtown area filled with local businesses. Shopping in the area features boutiques and clothing stores for all ages and styles. Shoppers in the downtown Royal Oak area can also find a wide variety of restaurants and bars, many of which are local favorites.

Why is shopping local important?

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Shopping local is important in today’s economy, but many people assume big retail corporations have most of the advantages over their local competitors. This could not be further from the truth. In actuality, small local retailers play an important role to shoppers and their community as a whole.

 

Lower Prices

Shopping local doesn’t have to be more expensive. Local merchants know they need to compete with larger competitors, so they will price their products competitively. Customer satisfaction is very important to local store owners, so they will make sure the price will meet the demands of shoppers.

 

Less Hassle

Navigating the endless aisles and departments of large chain retailers can be exhausting. Shopping at local stores gives you access to the products you want, without the time spent searching. Local stores can give you an important advantage – finding what you’re shopping for at fractions of the time and walking distance of larger stores.

 

Insider Information

Local merchants are often experts in their industry, and their input tends to be more genuine as a result. They have spoken with real shoppers far more often than their counterparts at a corporate level, so they can help guide you toward the product you are shopping for at the price you’re looking for. One-time insider sales and special events are just a few of the important benefits of shopping as a loyal customer to a local business.

 

Friendly Environment

When you enter a locally owned store, you’re greeted with open arms. The distance between management and customer is much smaller, so customers know exactly who they’re shopping from. Local merchants are often passionate about what they’re selling and will treat you as an important, valued customer. The sense of trust that results from shopping directly from a local store owner is valuable and important, and it is rarely seen in larger chains.

 

Better Customer Service

While larger chain stores are often unwilling to accommodate the unique needs of customers while shopping, local merchants are much more likely to listen. The important ability of a local store owner to speak directly with their customers allows them to cater to their needs more effectively. Local merchants are making important decisions based on what’s in front of them instead of from an office in a different city, so they will find it easier to establish a positive shopping experience where everyone’s voice is heard.

 

More Informed Decisions

Every day, local merchants see firsthand what happens in their store. They naturally observe important information about the experience of the people shopping in their store. As a result, this insight gives local merchants the ability to adapt and take action on a daily basis. They can assure shoppers have the best possible experience, allowing for the right shopping environment that meets their important needs.

Your pets will love these locally owned Metro Detroit stores!

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Everyone loves their pets, so naturally we want to find the best food, toys, and supplies for them. These locally owned Metro Detroit pet stores provide high quality products and services for our furry friends.

Premier Pet Supply

Metro Detroit pet stores

31215 Southfield Rd, Beverly Hills, MI. Open Monday-Saturday 8:30am-9pm, Sunday 10am-6pm
This large, locally owned Metro Detroit pet store carries a wide variety of pet supplies. Can’t find what you’re looking for? You can request special foods and other items for your pet’s unique needs. Premier Pet Supply is located in Beverly Hills.

Maestro’s Dog Haus

Metro Detroit pet stores
79 W Long Lake Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI. Open Monday-Friday 7:30am-7pm, Saturday 7:30am-6pm, Sunday 11am-4pm
This Metro Detroit pet store specializes in high-quality, single-ingredient dog foods. Maestro’s features food for dogs of all shapes and sizes as well as natural chews and bones. You can even order a completely edible birthday cake for your dog’s birthday!

Lou’s Pet Shop

Metro Detroit pet stores
20779 Mack Ave, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI. Open Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 12-5pm
A staple of Grosse Pointe since 1970, this locally owned Metro Detroit pet store features supplies and food for every pet imaginable. You can purchase smaller pets including hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, and more. The store also offers a 3-week program for children to volunteer and learn about animals.

City Bark

Metro Detroit pet stores
1222 Griswold St, Detroit, MI. Open Monday-Friday 11am-8pm, Saturday 11am-6pm, 11am-5pm
Located in downtown Detroit, City Bark is a trendy Metro Detroit pet store that offers supplies for dogs and cats. Their pet food delivery can be ordered online and is available for most areas of Detroit. City Bark is involved in the local community and frequently organizes events for residents and their pets.

Hidden Benefits that Shopping Local Gives Customers

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A common misconception is that lower prices give large chain retailers an advantage over their smaller competitors. Price matters, but it’s a small part of the retail experience. Shopping smaller and locally has enough value to hold its own against the giants of retail, and there are many benefits of shopping local for customers.

 

Location, Location, Location

Local merchants require less space than their larger competitors, so they can be located closer to home. Their close proximity will benefit customers by reducing the amount of time needed to go shopping. You can find local merchants in residential and downtown areas, but you’ll have to drive to the outskirts if you’re shopping at larger, national chains due to their need for more space.

 

Increase Value

Since small stores can fit in residential areas, they often increase property value. Downtown areas with stores or shopping centers will benefit nearby homes or apartments by increasing their value. Locally owned, higher end retail stores can add a sense of class and luxury to any neighborhood.

 

More Jobs

Local businesses also benefit the local job market. They often hire millenials and provide a more beneficial employment experience than their corporate competitors. Most people would rather work at a local boutique than a big box store.

 

Better Communication

When you visit a local store, you can often find yourself having a face-to-face conversation with the owner. An expert in their industry, the owner can guide your shopping experience far more effectively than a representative in a larger store. Without having to manage as much employees or oversee as large of a storefront, the owners of local businesses can focus on how to benefit customers while on their shopping experience.

 

Stay In The Know

The benefits of shopping loyally at a local business are endless. You can get insider access to one-time sales, special events, and much more. Building loyalty by shopping with local merchants can benefit you by saving time, money, and effort!

 

Make Special Requests

If you’re shopping all over and can’t find a product, local merchants can often come to the rescue. With the ability to directly contact the store owner, customers can make requests for special orders for rare or custom products. These requests benefit both the customer and merchant, and they are a unique part of the local shopping experience!

 

Access to Current Technology

In the past, the budgets of local businesses did not allow them to purchase technology that competes with larger corporations. As digital age tech becomes available to the average consumer, local stores are increasingly able to afford technology that benefits both the shopper and merchant. Square has allowed for credit cards to be accepted at even the smallest businesses, while developments in the digital world have allowed for people to communicate with local merchants while shopping online. With ever-increasing availability to technology, local businesses will continue to provide new and creative benefits to their customers.

The Perfect Gift For Every Kid: The Robot Garage, Adventures In Toys, Lil Rascals

By | Wantify Blog

Clothes, toys, and fun memberships…here are some of our favorite holiday gift picks for kids from Birmingham’s The Robot Garage, Adventures in Toys, and Lil Rascals.
I love everything about giving gifts — from finding just the right thing, to choosing the wrapping, and finally seeing the surprise and joy on the recipient’s face. This time of year there areplenty of opportunities to lavish gifts upon our friends and family, especially all the little ones in our lives. In fact, I spent my entire weekend flitting gleefully around town selecting the perfect gifts for all the kids on my list from some of my favorite shops in the Detroit area.
The Robot Garage
637 S. Eton, Birmingham, Michigan. Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:00am to 6:30pm, Saturday 9:00am to 6:30pm, Sunday 12pm to 5pm

Not all gifts have to be wrappable! Consider giving an engineering and robotics experience. I first visited The Robot Garage with my kids for a birthday party, and it’s awesome.

Kids (and adults!) can build anything and everything they can imagine with the massive quantity and variety of Legos provided. You can even incorporate robotics into your design and use computers to set it into motion. If your little one put their heart and soul into their project, they can take it home! Simply weigh their creation and pay per pound.

Consider gifting drop-in hours for Lego-building and playing with robots, $8 per child for up to two hours. Or give a series of organized class sessions or a holiday three-day camp. Projects and prices vary by age group. Memberships are also available and include free drop-in hours and discounts on classes. If you think your kids will want to spend every rainy Saturday here, a membership is the way to go.

If you want to give your child a gift for under the tree, The Robot Garage can help there too. Choose from a comprehensive selection of Lego kits and Duplo blocks, and a range of other science and engineering toys. Some of the most popular gifts this year include Hoberman spheres and Crazy Aaron’s putty. I particularly love all the DIY kits. In my experience, when the kids have a hand in building their own toys, they tend to be a little more careful with them. And learning while playing is always a win-win!

Adventures In Toys
250 W. Maple, Birmingham, Michigan. Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 11:30am – 5:00pm

Walking into this shop is like stepping back into the good old days. The vintage tile floor and the hand-painted mural behind the counter remind me of everything I loved about my childhood toy store. From presentation to service, there’s a real focus on quality in every aspect of Adventures in Toys.

Toys are displayed from floor to ceiling, and they run the gamut from dollhouses to science kits to a wonderful selection of Thomas trains and accessories. They also carry Melissa & Doug, which has long been a favorite brand of mine because of the traditional feel and high quality pieces. Here you’ll find their costumes, puzzles and wooden play sets, and an awesome puppet theater and workbench, which I picked up (assembled for free!) for my daughter.

Adventures in Toys also has a fun five-and-dime-type section with gag gifts and trinkets that make great stocking stuffers. A nook toward the back of the store houses gifts for your budding scientist: microscopes, crystal-growing kits, telescopes, and more.

There are toys to play with quietly indoors and raucously outdoors. There are books and stuffed animals. There are art supplies and musical instruments. There’s a ton of stuff for babies.

You can even call ahead, drive your car up to the back door and collect your purchases. Gift–wrapping is free and so is assembly — just give them a day’s notice. You’ll find plenty of options for everyone on your list here. And, you’ll get it all with some of the best service in town.

Lil Rascals
580 N. Old Woodward, Birmingham, Michigan. Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm; Sunday 9am to 3pm (May to October only)

When I want my gift to really stand out, I head to Lil Rascals. This sweet little boutique carries a wonderful selection of assorted gifts, from books and toys to clothes and accessories. It’s the kind of place where you’ll want one of everything.

Lil Rascals carries a unique line of comfy and cool clothes for babies, toddlers and young children. Anyone who’s shopped for clothing for toddler boys knows there’s not much variety out there, but that’s not the case here. I picked up an ‘80s-style t-shirt and superhero belt for my son.

For girls, go for a classic look, like a tweed dress paired with a mini Chanel-style purse and a dainty bracelet. Or for an edgier look, like my daughter prefers, snag a rock-n-roll t-shirt and colorful lamé leggings.

I also head here for keepsake gifts like personalized birth info blankets and embroidered onesies. I love that although this shop has a more upscale vibe than a typical toy store, kids are welcomed as much as their parents.

No matter who’s on your gift list and what’s on their wish list, you’ll find everything you want this holiday season right here in Birmingham. Even better…shopping locally creates local jobs, supports area causes, and reinvests money in our community. And those are the gifts that give to all of us year-round!

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Confessions of a Shop Local Fanatic: Why I Heart Local

By | Wantify Blog

Why shop local? It’s not because I think I’m doing my local stores a big favor. It’s just the opposite — it’s about what these local businesses provide us as a community. (But, it’s also where I find all the best stuff!)

I’ve always had this thing for shop local. I get really excited by what I might discover in little independent stores. I’ve been a self-professed lover of local since before I even knew there was a name for it. Then I discovered there were labels for people like me…localist, locavore. Were they a bit silly? I didn’t care. I felt validated. I bought the t-shirt.

I used to shop locally purely for enjoyment, leisurely browsing our city’s little stores for unusual finds. I still love my local stores, but these days I shop them differently. With two kids in tow, I need to get in and out quickly…before the 4-year old breaks something, or the 1-year-old leaves a sticky trail of residue behind. Small business owners seem to recognize my predicament, and give us the attentive and personalized customer service a busy mom needs. (Or maybe they, too, realize it’s better for all if it’s a quick transaction?)

But, it’s not just about being fawned over by a conscientious shop owner. (Although, I do sorta love that.)

Buying local is also a conscious decision to support my community businesses because I really can’t imagine our lives without them.

But, I admit — I don’t shop local all of the time. Nothing is ever all black or all white, is it? Still, I try to choose local first whenever I can. And, here’s why…

WHY SHOP LOCAL ANYWAY?

There are countless online sources that can give you the facts about why shopping locally is so important for our communities and our local economies, so I won’t go there. (But, you can read up on shop local statistics here or here or even here.) For me this next little story illustrates those statistics so much better.

Recently I congratulated a neighborhood shop owner on the opening of his second store. He confessed he was lucky to get the new retail space for a song. And, then he shared that, despite steady sales, he wasn’t really making a profit. “This is definitely a labor of love,” he said. “If I had a family, I couldn’t afford to stay open.”

He then told me about another business I knew that had recently closed despite a regular stream of customers. “Without his wife’s job, they couldn’t have stayed open as long as they did. He finally closed up shop when he got a job offer he couldn’t pass up.”

These admissions stopped me in my tracks and quickly dissolved any romantic notions I had about owning my own little shop: Is owning a local retail business only for those without dependents? Or those who are dependent themselves?

Yes, you can argue that’s business. You can tell me things have changed, and perhaps the small businesses just can’t keep up with the online businesses. And, that all may be true. Yet this is also true: Online businesses are simply selling us a product. Once you click the submit payment button, the relationship ends. But, our small local businesses give us so much more than just the books or clothes or coffee they sell us — they give us experiences that help shape our lives. As a community, we need these local businesses.

LOCAL BUSINESSES ARE WORTH MUCH MORE THAN WHAT THEY SELL 

I think about my favorite local shops and the experiences we would miss if they closed their doors: Where would I take my kids for story time if that bookstore closed? Where would we go for an ice cream treat after a fun afternoon playing in the park? Where would I catch up on work if that coffee shop was gone?

Because these local businesses don’t just sell us things — they provide us with gathering places and sense of community.

When you shop local, you’re not just paying for the item you bring home. You’re also paying for an experience. And, that experience doesn’t end once you leave the shop.

Our community businesses create a vibrant, lively atmosphere that we enjoy regularly — and it’s not something we always pay for. Yes, we eat at our neighborhood restaurants, drink at our neighborhood bars, hang out at our neighborhood coffee shops, and buy from our neighborhood retailers. But, we also go to free events sponsored by the community businesses…monthly art walks and seasonal celebrations.

And, I know it’s not just my neighborhood. For every neighborhood where local businesses and neighbors co-exist, you’ll find this symbiotic relationship.

SHIFTING OUR SHOPPING HABITS: SMALL CHANGES MAKE A DIFFERENCE 

Sometimes I feel a little sheepish if I run into someone in a big-box store, especially if they know my stance on shopping locally. But, I can’t always find what I need at the neighborhood shops. And, I have to tell myself that’s okay. I shop local as often as I can, and every bit matters.

But, it’s not just a rationalization…there’s data to back me up! A movement became popular a few years back called the 3/50 Project. You pick three local businesses you’d miss if they were no longer around, and spend at least $50 in those shops every month. That’s less than $17 per store, which seems pretty reasonable.

We’re not talking about $50 in additional purchases, either — just what you are already consuming each month. You could easily spend that at your hardware store, your bookstore, and your corner grocer.

Here’s the kicker: If only half the working population did this each month, it would generate more than $40 billion in revenue. And, because that revenue is locally spent dollars, it is four times as likely to stay in the community and be spent at other businesses.

Okay, I confess that I haven’t personally worked out the math on the $40 billion. (I mean, who am I kidding? I was an English major.) But the concept is intriguing: Can spending just $50 a month keep alive the amazing businesses that enliven our neighborhoods and add so much to our lives? I sure hope so.

So, I try to support our local businesses whenever I can — even if it’s not 100 percent of the time. And, yes, sometimes I pay more than I would at the big-box or online stores. But, I happily pay that. I think of it as an investment in our community…because what we get back in return is worth so much more.

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