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.
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.
Earth Angels Holistic Health LLC's team of therapists fosters feelings of tranquility with holistic treatments such as ear candling, chakra alignment, and aromatherapy wraps. They also tailor massage treatments to clients' specific needs, carefully weeding out shoulder pains and muscular knots with soothing strokes or hot stones. Both humans and pets can enjoy the team's Reiki treatments, which bolster the body's natural healing processes for a deeper sense of well-being.
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.
Fast Needle-Milton's squad of skilled, diligent needlesmiths earned the 2011 Customer Satisfaction Award from Talk of the Town. The talented tailors hem unlined pants ($10.50) with ease, sparing customers the inconvenience of having to supplement bottoms with pairs of outdated goldfish-heel platform boots. Nimble needles can adjust sports-coat sleeves ($22.95) or curtail the dimensions of a dress ($16.95) for maximum wearability. Shortening a wedding gown ($100) can help the sewers' bridal customers avoid tripping on hemlines during fast-paced rounds of the chicken dance at wedding receptions.