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The Best Locally Owned Stores for Metro Detroit Music Lovers

By | Our Picks, Wantify Blog | No Comments

Going to the music store is always a great time. Inside, music lovers can test out instruments, chat with other musicians, and even take lessons to broaden their skills. Here are just a few of our favorite locally owned stores in the Metro Detroit area that every music lover should visit.

Axis Music Academy

Music Stores metro Detroit

283 Hamilton Row, Birmingham, MI 48009. Open Monday – Thursday 12pm to 9pm, Friday 12pm to 7pm, and Saturday 10am to 6pm.
Teaching musicians of all ages and skill levels, Axis prides itself on being a Metro Detroit hub for music education. They offer lessons for every instrument imaginable as well as vocals and production. Axis has a variety of music concerts and events in store, offering their students an opportunity to perform what they’ve learned in front of a live audience!

Detroit Guitar

243 W Maple Rd, Birmingham, MI 48009. Open Monday-Saturday 11am-8pm.
Guitarists of all skill levels will love the broad selection of guitars and amplifiers offered by this Birmingham music store. With repair and guitar lessons offered as well, this store is sure to appeal to guitar lovers in the Metro Detroit area.

Found Sound Vinyl

music store metro detroit

234 W Nine Mile Rd, Ferndale, MI 48220. Open Monday-Saturday 11am-8pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm.
Both casual listeners and crate diggers will love this locally owned Metro Detroit record store. Music fans are greeted with a hip and friendly atmosphere where they can find records, posters, and more. With a broad selection of new and used vinyl records, there’s enough music for everyone!

Music Castle

metro detroit music store

28856 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48067. Open Monday 10am-8pm, Tuesday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 12pm-5pm.
For decades, this Royal Oak music store has met the needs of musicians in the Metro Detroit area. The Music Castle rents high-quality equipment, featuring everything from saxophones and trumpets to mixers and full sound systems. They also sell new and used instruments as well as offer repair services.

The D String

music store metro detroit

1525 Adelaide St, Detroit, MI 48207. Open Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 12pm-5pm.
This Detroit music store offers a selection of used musical instruments. Here, you can find old guitars and other instruments that you wouldn’t normally find in a music store. The D String also hosts several events that include concerts, presentations, and activities. They also offer rental space for band practices, release parties, weddings, and more!

What are your favorite locally owned music stores in the area? Let us know in the comments!

Find the Perfect Gift for Every Kid in Birmingham

By | Our Picks, Wantify Blog

Clothes, toys, and fun memberships… here are some of our favorite gift picks for kids from Birmingham stores The Robot Garage, Adventures in Toys, and Lil Rascals.
There’s a lot to love 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. There are always plenty of opportunities to lavish gifts upon our friends and family, especially all the little ones in our lives. Find the perfect gifts for all the kids on your list at some of our favorite stores in the Birmingham, MI area. Read More

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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