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Shop Hop and shop local for the holidays

Marlee Grace, Have Company

Dann Boyles, Rebel.reclaimed

Rachel Zylstra, Hopscotch

Have Company

Rebel.reclaimed

Rebel.reclaimed

Rebel.reclaimed

Hopscotch

Have Company

Sandy Weiss, Hopscotch

If you're making a list and checking it twice this season, don't head out to tackle your holiday shopping without making plans to hit a few of these local favorites. Just in time for the annual Uptown Shop Hop, Audria Larsen shares the inside scoop on some local stores full of holiday cheer.
Holiday shopping is many things. In West Michigan it is an opportunity connect with local culture through the makers and artisans found in nearby shops and boutiques, not to mention a pleasant way to discover unique gifts without battling the madness of the mall. Tonight marks the annual Uptown Holiday Shop Hop event, which highlights a wide range of local shops around Grand Rapids, complete with shuttle service from 4 to 10 p.m. to help you explore them all. To get you through the holiday season, we’ve selected a handful of noteworthy proprietors, including a few from the Shop Hop route and some reaching beyond Grand Rapids, that you don’t want to miss. So whip out your list, hop on that trolley, or pop into one of these local gems for some of the best holiday shopping around.
 
 
New & Classic
 
Have Company
New on the scene, Have Company grew from a passion for handcrafted, artisanal goods, zines and vintage thrift culture, blossoming into a great gift destination with a welcoming vibe. “I think my favorite part about the shop and the way things are set up are that you can buy a tube of coffee, you can buy a vintage dress, get a handcrafted lamp and get a magazine,” said Marlee Grace, founder of the South Division store. “We carry handmade goods from people from all around the country but a good 85% are made right here in Grand Rapids…there’s so many people making stuff that I want them to have a place to sell their stuff, a hub.” Not only can you find unique, one-of-a-kind items at Have Company, but you can also enjoy regular workshops held at the shop, put on by local craftspeople sharing various skills like how to work with textiles. “I think a big goal of ours here is to not only sell you something but [to] inspire people to go make something themselves,” said Grace. “As our goals keep shifting… I think right now it is to show the community the value of paying for a really quality handmade item or the experience of learning something.”
 
Pooh’s Corner
A local mainstay, Pooh’s Corner in Breton Village has provided a lovely space to share the joy of reading and literature with young ones since the mid-seventies. A great destination for the kiddos on your list, you can immerse yourself in the cozy atmosphere while you shop for books, art supplies, gifts and cuddly plush toys. While you’re at it, bring your favorite tots along to enjoy group reading time while you shop. And don’t forget to take advantage of the free gift wrapping service to ease your holiday workload.
 
GR Vintage and Thrift 
This gem of a shop is tucked in the West Side of Grand Rapids, providing a playground for vintage lovers and thrift aficionados alike. Formerly known as Flashback, the recently remodeled and renamed boutique is one of Grand Rapid’s longest running, über hip thrift destinations. With everything from vinyl records and wacky tchotchkes to retro denim, granny fur coats and duds suitable for a glam rock star, including accessories like stylish sunglasses and chunky jewelry, you’re bound to find a gem for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list.   
 
 
Shop Hop Stops
 
Hopscotch Children’s Store
The only natural parenting store in Grand Rapids, Hopscotch on Cherry Street is the place to get quality children’s goods that will please even the pickiest of parents. Featuring just about everything kid-related, you can find quality apparel, sought-after wooden toys, fancy cloth diapers and other accessories. All the available products are either locally made, Michigan-based or sourced from small manufacturers, including items from other companies that offer sustainable, earth friendly wares.
 
Blacklamb
Just down the street from Hopscotch is Blacklamb, a lifestyle boutique formerly known as Lamb. Blacklamb is a stylish and chic hot spot known for unique gifts and accessories. Since its transformation, the shop now more fully embodies the aesthetics and jewelry line (also called Blacklamb) of owner Ryann Lambay. Elegantly quirky, the featured products are made for the modern eclectic. Mixed in with locally crafted treasures you can find carefully sourced goods like handbags by Mat & Nat, a company based out of Montreal that specializes in lush faux-leather products. “We take great care to stock the store with things that you can’t find anywhere else,” said Marissa Kulha, creator and shop collaborator. While the space is perfectly curated, patrons are encouraged to explore the jam-packed store. “We don’t want everything under glass,” said Ryann Lambay. “We want people to be able to investigate themselves…be interactive with it.” With countless eye-catching items to peruse, you’re bound to find something gift-worthy for those with distinctive tastes.
 
Rebel.Reclaimed
Rebel.Reclaimed is a charming shop on East Fulton filled with thoughtful items perfect for gift giving. Filled to the brim with up-cycled antiques and handmade goodies, it’s a pleasant surprise how much you can find inside the tiny boutique. Whether you’re looking for something whimsical and adorned with owls or a pride piece for your bicycle-loving Michigander, revamped goodies abound. Plus, each item is carefully gift wrapped in repurposed paper, like old sewing patterns, that will give a polished yet distinctive look for under the tree.
 
ACK
ACK (All City Kicks) has been holding down the sneaker and apparel scene in Grand Rapids for nearly a decade. Whether you’re fully mired in street wear fashion, vintage style footwear or simply want splashy, high-performance shoes that will turn heads, ACK is the place to go. Located in the heart of Eastown, the shop is a veritable gallery of vivid colors and head-turning designs for men, women and even kids. “We have a very diverse sneaker collection in here,” said Edwin “Vic” Victory, owner, citing sought-after featured brands like Nike, Adidas, Reebock and Converse. Lately, you can put a whole look together from the shop, based on your choice of sneakers. “We have brought more apparel in because a lot of people who come in that buy the unique sneakers that we have, they want to tie it in [with matching clothes],” said Victory. Whether you need new kicks to brave the Michigan winter or are looking for a gift, you can enjoy deals during the Uptown Shop Hop along with giveaways and refreshments plus top 40 jams paired with Christmas music spun by the shop’s go-to DJ.
 
 
Farther Afield: Holland/ Zeeland
 
Frances Jaye
The brainchild of proprietor Jenny Van Veen, Frances Jaye is a snazzy destination for apparel and accessories centering on a classically polished yet slightly rugged look. The cozy and charming shop, located on 8th Street, contains a little of everything, from boots to necklaces and cocktail dresses to mittens. With style collections featuring themes like Sandy Summer, Beach Day, Nautical and Polkadots, you’ll find looks for men and women alike that will take you, or the object of your gift giving, from the great outdoors to a holiday party in style. 
 
Feather & Nest
Sister store to Rebel.Reclaimed, Feather & Nest is a brand-new, spacious shop located in downtown Zeeland, which expands on the feel of the Grand Rapids boutique through home furnishings and other treasures. Discover fun accent furniture and handmade art pieces along with the softer touches like letterpress cards and stationary, all carefully curated. Plus, plenty of holiday themed items perfect for avid annual decorators and a grand opening celebration Dec. 6 and 7, including special discounts.
 
Audria Larsen is a freelance writer, entrepreneur and professional entertainer. Her work has been published in Rapid Growth Media, Revue Magazine, Michigan Blue Magazine and Hooping.org. She is the founder of Audacious Hoops, Grand Rapids' original "hula" hoop company and produces a myriad of art and entertainment ventures. 
 
Photography by Adam Bird
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