Northville have the goods for a busy holiday shopping season
Photos by Liz Cezat (Lorla's photos were submitted.)
Hover over image for captions or to pause slide show.
Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26 launched what Northville retailers
foresee as a busy shopping season – drawing loyal customers and new
shoppers from Northville and southeastern Michigan, and out-of-town
visitors. With scores of unique stores, Northville is a destination for
shopping, dining and walking around in the hip, historic downtown.
Most of the retailers have a website presence with mail order
available – you never have to step foot into the store to purchase their
goods, although you would miss the aura of artful displays of
merchandise, friendly and knowledgeable owners and employees, and great
sound systems that put you in the mood to shop.
While you’re at the store, check out the architecture inside and out
– you’ll see tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, cornices, pillars and
other historic features. It feels cozy and warm – a sensation you
typically don’t get from a big box retailer.
clothing and accessories
Chris Van Dam, owner of Van Dam’s Boutique
noted three reasons to shop there, “We have a great selection of clothes
and accessories, good service, and we carry goods from (small quantity)
designers that are often handmade or one-of-a-kind.”
features Joseph Ribkoff clothing – dressy items – and a vast array of
For the holidays, she stocks Mark Roberts
collectibles, which include fairies that add intrigue to a Christmas
Lauren Beras, an owner of Lorla’s, which sells shoes,
handbags, women’s clothing and accessories, said Small Business Saturday
was fabulous. She had special promotions the entire weekend that
benefitted both the customers and the boutique’s bottom line.
Friday and Saturday, customers were invited to put everything they
wanted to buy on the counter and then pull a red ornament that contained
a discount slip of 10 to 50% off. When they learned of their discount,
they could put things back but not add anything new to their selection.
On Sunday, women could bring in new or gently used bras to support the
“Free the Girls” charity in exchange for a 20% discount.
has plenty of gifts for $25 or less. Best sellers are well-made socks
that don’t fall down – some with a quirky bent that customers love. The
store also has demure texting gloves, priced at $25. Other hot sellers
are Zand Amsterdam skirts – reversible, adjustable in size, and made in
Australia, and Michigan CAT boots.
“We go through things quickly.
Our customers want something that you don’t find everywhere. She wants
comfort and style. That’s our gig,” said Beras, who comes from a family
of business owners.
“We concentrate on personal service,” she
noted. “I’ve always said to my employees, ‘Be humble enough to get down
on your hands and knees and serve someone but fashionable enough to be
asked for your advice.’”
Fun is a top reason to shop at Lorla’s.
“We want it to be your best shopping experience. It’s also about a
connection. You can shop anywhere, but, here, there’s a personal
connection with the store owner and employees who care about what you
want. If she (the customer) is not thrilled with what she bought, she’s
not coming back. I care more about them coming back than that first
sale,” said Beras.
Art for your walls
Dan Ferrara, co-owner of
Northville Gallery, said Small Business Saturday was excellent, as
usual. “It’s nice to see new faces and see more people come to downtown
Northville that day because they really want to support local
The Gallery offers paintings by locally popular
artists as well as custom framing. “We do great work at a price that is
often less than big-box stores. A custom-framed piece is something
that’s going to go on the wall and be viewed for years to come. It’s a
“In our retail community, there’s a saying that
meaningful gifts come from Northville. Customers often put thought into
a gift, and buy something because of what it means rather than what it
is,” Ferrara said.
Among the Gallery’s popular Christmas items
are boxes of writing cards with holiday scenes of Northville, including
Santa standing in front of the Marquis theater. Customers favor
paintings by Michael McNamara, who captures Northville scenes of the
farmer’s market and Mill Race Village, and by Sviatoslav Kozakov, who
focuses on Michigan’s Great Lakes areas.
Everyone needs jeans
Small Business Saturday brought new people into Rock on Main Clothing
Company, which specializes in jeans and casual, funky and alluring tops
for women. Owner Colleen Puzzuoli says a can’t-miss gift this year are
skinny jeans. Flared jeans are making a comeback too, when worn with a
jacket for a sophisticated look. Sweaters are also a top-selling item.
The store carries merchandise from the Detroit Shirt Company and other
Detroit-based clothing manufacturers, saving customers a trip to
Downtown Detroit to purchase authentic items.
misconception that boutique prices are more expensive than a department
store,” Puzzuoli said. “People are pleased with the prices and often buy
several pairs of jeans.” On social media, customers give Puzzuoli high
marks for the quality, fit and style of the jeans she sells.
sell nice, comfortable, casual wear. We offer a lot of unique items,
much of it made in the U.S. We carry Pink Martini and Aratta women’s
clothing lines, among others,” Puzzuoli said.
gifts take extra effort
If you want to make your own gift, check out
the tools at The Village Workshop, 455 E. Cady St., where professionals,
makers and kids use the workshop’s tools on site to produce items for
business or personal use. A bonus is that you can get a hot or cold
beverage and yummy baked goods at their on-site café, open from 9 a.m.
to 10 p.m., 7 days a week.
Pozzuoli sums up shopping locally this
holiday season, “A vibrant downtown is important for everyone in the
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