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Spice Merchants brings world flavors to downtown Northville shop

A downtown Northville storefront is now home to a purveyor of spices, teas and oils from around the world

Spice Merchants of Northville opened about a month ago at 110 N. Center St. after completing renovations of the shop that is part of a 100-year old building. It's the latest franchise of the Saugatuck-based company that started in 2003 and has 17 stores in eight states, eight of them in Michigan.

The shop has a spice for every occasion. Football games? Spices for chili. Halloween? Pumpkin spices. Healthy dinner idea? Roasted vegetables with rosemary olive oil.

Spice Merchants of Northville is lined with stacked-high canisters of fresh teas and spices. Another part of the store is stocked with stainless steel dispensers filled with flavored and unflavored olive oils.

Spices are imported and also made by the owners, Chris and Christine Raymond, as are hot sauces. The shop, like other specialty food stores, thrives on browsing, sampling and educating about how to cook with the ingredients or use them for health benefits.

Source: Spice Merchants of Northville
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Scott Shuptrine Interiors adds Grosse Pointe store

Grosse Pointe's most noticeably empty storefront, the former Borders bookstore in the Village shopping district, is coming back as a Scott Shuptrine Interiors and St. John Health System medical center.

The St. John Medical Center Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Campus opened this week, and Royal Oak-based Scott Shuptrine will open in March inside the nearly 20,000-square-foot property, 7,600 of it for Shuptrine's store and design center. 

Grosse Pointe is the birthplace of Scott Shuptrine, and the new Grosse Pointe store will emphasize community education in art and design. It will be the company's only freestanding location. Other Scott Shuptrines are adjacent to Art Van Furniture stores. Scott Shuptrine is in the midst of an expansion that will add a Novi store, which will pilot a design lab, and the first out-of-state location with a 10,000-square-foot store in Downers Grove, IL.

St. John Health System spearheaded the $5-million renovation of the building at 17141 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe, and it found the major retail tenant to occupy the front side of the building along Kercheval. That portion of the building goes to Scott Shuptrine. The back portion, with an alley entrance and new parking lot, is for St. John's.

Until this week, St. John had not released information on the retailer that would occupy the property, which city officials required be mixed use rather than completely medical.

Both tenants of the building have deep Grosse Pointe connections. Wilson, the medical center's namesake, was a longtime Grosse Pointer and former owner of the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise. He died in March, and the foundation named after him donated $1 million to St. John to build a medical center that combines doctors' offices and other medical services in one spot in the center of the community.

Besides opening its first store in Grosse Pointe, Scott Shuptrine, which was acquired by Art Van Furniture in 1987, is owned by Art Van Elslander. He raised his family locally and built one of the largest homes in the Pointes.

The rebirth of the former Borders is the largest piece in an overall revitalization of the Village, a three-block-long area where at least seven new businesses have opened in the last year and at least three more are soon to open.

Source: St. John Health System & Scott Shuptrine Interiors
Writer: Kim North Shine

West Elm opens first Michigan store in downtown Birmingham

Michigan's first West Elm home and furniture store will open in downtown Birmingham Oct. 2.

The 15,000-square-foot store at 215 W. Maple will sell Michigan-made products in support of the Brooklyn, New York-based retailer's LOCAL initiative to support entrepreneurs working in or near the cities where West Elm has stores.

Among the 10 entrepreneurs whose goods will be sold are Marcy Davy's handmade prints from Ypsilanti, soaps and balms from Ferndale-based Babylon Soap Company and Cellar Door Soap from Plymouth, Warpaint Studio's prints and posters, also from Ypsilanti, Detroit-based Jody Lynn Burton's whimsical doodle art, and more.

The renovated store is designed to reflect the environment, culture and heritage of Oakland County, Detroit, and Michigan. A mosaic made of industrial molds in different shapes and colors and previously used in metal fabrications hangs on a feature wall that is an homage to Michigan's manufacturing heritage.

The store will have a design center, where home stylists guide customers through room designs at no charge. The opening builds on a series of national retailers to open locations in Birmingham in the last two years.

Source: Sophie Zunz, partner at The Moxie Agency, and spokesperson, West Elm
Writer: Kim North Shine

High fashion Birmingham boutique opens second studio in Grosse Pointe

A former stockbroker who swapped a career in finance for one in fashion is expanding from one store and studio in Birmingham to a second in Grosse Pointe.

Bonnie Foley will bring her Christane Larue boutique with designer clothing, including resort wear, casual day wear and formal evening wear, to a spot being renovated at 17114  Kercheval Avenue. The store is scheduled to open in October.

It will be the latest business arrival for The Village in Grosse Pointe, where the main street, Kercheval Avenue, was spotted with several vacant storefronts until of late, when a series of restaurants, a dance studio, a hair salon, a fabric store and other businesses moved in.

The Birmingham studio is located at 2243 Cole St. It opened in 2008.

Source: Christiane Larue
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Shoe Tree women's shoe store to open in Grosse Pointe's Village

The most-watched block in Grosse Pointe's Village business district is getting a new tenant, a shoe store that will sell moderately priced women's shoes and be owned by a local who believes she knows what Grosse Pointers want and are willing to pay.

Hilary Butcher will open the Shoe Tree, likely in late October, at 17121 Kercheval Avenue, next door to the Calico fabric store that opened in June.

The block once housed a Borders bookstore and Ace hardware store, and since they closed in 2011 and 2012 the block sat vacant until a few months ago.

The developer, Kercheval Company, has leased much of the space to St. John Hospital, which will have offices and retail space. Kercheval Dance has opened a dance studio next door and Calico at the opposite end from St. John, which is still renovating its space.

Butcher's store is an alternative to the pricey, designer shoe store, Capricious, which is located on Kercheval Avenue on The Hill in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Source: The Voice of the Village
Writer: Kim North Shine

Treasure Trove expands high-end resale biz to Ferndale

A successful run at upscale resale in Grosse Pointe has led the owners of Treasure Trove to open a second location in downtown Ferndale.

Like the Grosse Pointe store, the new store at 222 W. 9 Mile will sell antiques, gently used furniture, home decor, jewelry, and in Ferndale only, an unusual collection of wooden bow ties.

Art, rugs, dishes and a variety of other goods are acquired by the owners or brought in on consignment, creating a place that attracts collectors and designers as well as budget decorators.

The downtown Ferndale store opened on July 10.

Source: Treasure Trove
Writer: Kim North Shine

Meghan Marion clothing boutique to open in downtown Royal Oak

A closed wine shop in downtown Royal Oak is reopening as a women's clothing store in mid-July.

Meghan Marion will open July 16 at 405 South Main Street after renovations are complete and the merchandise, a mix of classic and trends in fashion, move in.

Clothing and accessories will be sold from the space and a grand opening party is planned for July 18.

Source: Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Outlet malls planned for Canton and Romulus

Shopping-center developers from Massachusetts and Baltimore are eyeing Romulus and Canton as future locations for massive, upscale, affordable outlet shopping centers.

New England Development of Newton, Mass. is considering building the Outlets of Michigan, an open air shopping center, near Metro Airport. Paragon Properties of Baltimore, Md. wants to open a similar-styled outlet mall on Ford Road near I-75.

Both proposals call for openings in 2016.

Economic development directors in both cities say they would create hundreds of jobs, generate millions of dollars in investment and tax revenue, and also be a draw for out-of-town shoppers.

Source: New England Development, Paragon Properties and Kristin Thomas, economic development director, city of Canton
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

New eatery, salon services coming to Grosse Pointe's Village

Several new businesses opening this summer in Grosse Pointe's Village business district will fill vacancies along Kercheval Avenue, the city's main street and a survivor of a series of national retailer closings.
 
One such space, a former Gap clothing store, will become a nail salon that has two locations in the neighboring suburb of St. Clair Shores. AJ Nail Salon & Spa is opening a Grosse Pointe location to serve Grosse Pointers who are regulars at its other locations.

In the same block of Kercheval another closed national retailer, Blockbuster, will be replaced by a hair salon, My Salon Suites.

Down the street, Jersey Mike's sub shop is opening in the Kercheval Place development, which opened about seven years ago where a Jacobson's department store once operated. Jersey Mike's will open on July 9, across the street from the Which Wich, another sandwich store that opened nearly two months ago.

The hair and nail salons and sub shop openings follow a Calico fabric store that opened about two weeks ago. Next door, construction is nearing completion on Kercheval Dance, a studio moving next door to a former Borders bookstore. The Borders site is owned by St. John Health System, which will lease space to retail tenants and use the space for medical offices.

Source: Peter Dame, Grosse Pointe city manager, and Randy Sanocki, building manager, Kercheval Place
Writer: Kim North Shine


 

Giuseppe's International Oils & Vinegars opens Grosse Pointe store

Stainless steel dispensers, ceramic decanters, and glass bottles make up much of the decor of Giuseppe's International Oils & Vinegars, but it's what's inside the containers that is the lifeblood of the business that has opened a second location in metro Detroit.

The first store, at Partridge Creek Mall in Clinton Township, has found enough success selling olive oils, aged vinegars and accessories that the owners decided to open a store in Grosse Pointe this week.

The newest Giuseppe's is located in the Village business district at 16841 Kercheval Avenue, on the second floor of the Dawood Building. The second floor retail location is a rarity for the Village, but may become more common as rules on building uses ease up and become more welcoming to businesses.

Besides its olive oils in flavored, regional, organic and specialty varieties dispensed from stainless steel canisters, and its vinegars imported from Modena, Italy that come in dark and white balsamic and wine varieties, Giuseppe's sells herbs and spices, olive oil skin products, handmade ceramic decanters and dishes, and other home products.

Giuseppe's also works with chefs who visit the store to share food and recipes that use oils, vinegars and other spices, including many that focus on health benefits.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce

Downtown Birmingham attracts national retailer West Elm

West Elm, the national furniture retailer based in Brooklyn, New York, is opening its first Michigan store in Birmingham in the fall of 2014.

At the same time, the nearly 12-year-old company that's owned by Williams Sonoma and is a sister to Pottery Barn will open its first European store in London.

West Elm's move to a prominent 10,000-square-foot spot on Maple in Birmingham is another score for the city's Principal Shopping District and its recruiters who are looking for the sweet spot mix of big nationals and small business to fill out downtown.

The new store will replace the space that years ago was Harmony House, then the men's store, Structure, and most recently, upscale women's boutique Lexi Drew.

West Elm, known for modern and natural furnishings and home decor at  mid-line price points, has about 60 stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

West Elm's move into Birmingham would bring the downtown's retail occupancy to 98 percent, says John Heiney, executive director of the Principal Shopping District.

Source: Principal Shopping District
Writer: Kim North Shine

The Rendezvous With Tea opens in Grosse Pointe Woods

Jars and jars of tea leaves and all sorts of tea accoutrements make up the aromatic and colorful decor and merchandise at The Rendezvous With Tea in Grosse Pointe Woods.

The store opened several weeks ago on busy Mack Avenue near Vernier (8 Mile  Raod) and is seeing locals and destination shoppers looking for a taste of teas from around the world and closer to home.

The tea-loving owner, Naszreen Gibson, sells nearly 200 varieties of loose teas mostly from Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and the Far East and more then 50 flavors of tea bags in sachets, pyramids and cloth bags. Tea pots and tea ware made of porcelain, cast iron, stainless steal and ceramic are also available.

One thing not for sale is the owner's signed copy of the New Tea Lovers' Treasury. Author and tea authority James Norwood Pratt visited The Rendezvous With Tea recently and says the shop is "a dream come true brought to Grosse Pointe Woods by a tea visionary to challenge and inspire any seeker of excellence. Be wise and stay healthy: Let Naszreen make you love tea too."

Source: Naszreen Gibson, owner, The Rendezvous With Tea
Writer: Kim North Shine

Mixed-use project to add to Auburn Hills downtown development plan

Auburn Hills' emerging downtown area will add a $10 million residential and commercial development to just over one acre at the southwest corner of Auburn and Squirrel roads.

Construction on Rivers Edge of Auburn Hills, a planned unit development, is to begin this summer and be completed by the summer of 2015.

Developer Burton-Katzman LLC won approval for  the project from the city council in early February, adding to a list of developments mostly related to the growing population of college students that has changed Auburn Hills in the last year. The developments include DEN, Downtown Education Nook; the University Center; the Auburn Square apartments and its retailers; and a 233-space parking structure.

Rivers Edge is expected to be a four-story building with 9,300 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 31 one- and two-bedroom apartments and lofts on the top three floors. About 50 parking spaces will be for residents, and another 11 will serve the commercial tenants and other downtown Auburn Hills visitors.

"We are pleased that Burton-Katzman is bringing this type of popular mixed-use, urban loft project to downtown Auburn Hills,” says Steve Cohen, director of community development for Auburn Hills. “Continued investment in the city is sparking strong interest from developers, prospective tenants and retailers."

Source: Barbara Fornasiero, EA Focus, Inc.
Writer: Kim North Shine

Plymouth's Mattress 4 U brings organic to the bedroom

In the 1980s, Mattress 4 U was into the waterbed craze and since then it's followed trends in sleeping, the latest being organic mattresses and a desire by consumers to know what's inside their mattress and what chemicals have been used to treat it.

The store started in Greenville in western Michigan and expanded to Plymouth in the summer of 2013, opening a store at 44717 5 Mile Road. It serves mostly Northville and Plymouth and calls itself Michigan's only certified organic mattress retailers.

Shoppers can find mattresses made from 100-percent organic cotton, natural rubber latex, renewable products, cruelty-free Eco Wool and with no chemicals.

It's a growing business, and unlike waterbeds of the 1980s, may be here to stay, says owner Billy Pennington.

Source: Billy Pennington, owner, Mattress 4U
Writer: Kim North Shine



Lark & Co. revives the old general store in new Birmingham spot

The vision for Michael Collins and David Zawicki's new Lark & Co. in downtown Birmingham is modern day general store.

The pair who previously ran Oliver's Trendz, a women's accessories store, in the same storefront at 138 N. Maple.  After shutting down for renovations, they reopened nearly two weeks ago and have stocked the 1,100-square-foot space with products inspired by a 1940s general store.

Variety is the name of the game: handmade candy, furniture, foodstuffs, lighting, purses, speciality soaps, rugs, books.

Collins and Zawicki have lived in Birmingham 17 years and see a general store as a way to round out downtown Birmingham's retail offerings, a way to keep locals from leaving town to shop.

Next door to Lark & Co. is Suhm-thing, a gift store that is also owned and operated by Collins and Zawicki and has a a selection of Michigan goods and unusual items from artists and designers around the world.

Part of the their business plan is also to convey how much good supporting a local merchant can do for the economy and to set them themselves apart by providing a level of service that's harder to find at chains, malls and big box stores, Collins says.

Source: Ed Nakfoor, Birmingham PSD, and Michael Collins, owner, Lark&Co.
Writer: Kim North Shine
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