Named among the top five local craft stores by Fox 8 City Voter, the shop serves as a workshop for burgeoning crafters, as well as a gift shop and a source for inspiring seasonal project ideas. Staff artists teach workshops in three crafting genres: jewelry, housewares, and needle arts, offering a well-rounded curriculum that helps students with all-around constructive knowledge. Just as fish parents drop their babies into the water to teach them how to swim, teachers instill the fundamentals of handicraft by walking students through their first project during classes. Inside the eclectic gift shop, more than 65 local artists display handmade loot such as purses, hair accessories, pottery, and greeting cards, each unique in design. The community-minded store also encourages crafters of all skill levels to gather under its roof, whether to trade inspiration, project ideas, or swap unneeded craft supplies.
Grand River Beads and Gift Gallery's festive interior, bedecked with the creations of more than 30 different jewelry and visual artists, houses top-notch beading facilities staffed by a team of local experts, each specializing in a different jewelry-making technique. The two-hour introductory class initiates burgeoning bead jockeys into the secrets of earring, bracelet, necklace, and medieval manacle construction. Materials are not included in the cost of the class; however, students will be able to choose craft-worthy circlets from Grand River's endless bead well. Wood, bone, lampwork glass, silver, gold, copper, and many other stringable options are on sale at the shop and available to inspire future projects.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
Owner Elizabeth Sheehe fills the aisles of Birds of a Feather, an authorized Pfaff and Elna dealer, with knitting, quilting, and textile art supplies, in addition to hosting an array of classes. During knitting classes, instructors impart basic stitches and techniques to refine yarn crafting or patch the space-time continuum. Quilting classes teach students basic concepts, how to make use of machine appliques, and how to convert vintage clothing into quilt squares. A rotating schedule of other classes net crafters finished projects such as knitted socks and felted totes. Groups of four or more can arrange clandestine after-hours knitting classes with a BYOB option and no additional fees.
Horizontal Books abounds with deeply discounted literature spanning every popular genre and churns out about 200 new titles every day. The independent retailer stocks only new books—untainted by dog ears and teeth marks—sold at a unique discount rate: buy 1 book and get it at 50% off, buy 2 books and get them at 60% off, and buy 3 books and get them at 70% off the listed retail price. Popular thrillers, such as a special illustrated version of Angels & Demons by Dan Brown ($10.50), nourish avid readers, and The Velveteen Rabbit ($4.19) and scores of children's books introduce kids to fun alternatives to watching TV and throwing water balloons at unsuspecting strangers.