Every year at Ann Arbor Fest, Catching Fireflies founders Steve and April paused from manning their paper-arts booth to admire the folksy paintings of local artist Chris Roberts-Antieau. When they finally saved up enough to purchase their favorite piece, “Catching Fireflies,” it led to a flash of inspiration: a shop dedicated to showcasing similarly whimsical artwork and supporting local artists.
Now, Catching Fireflies’ inventory spans the spectrum, from leather-bound journals and wall art to children’s toys, and has been lauded in Rochester-Rochester Hills Patch. Once customers have honed in on wares, staff can gift-wrap them free of charge, thereby eliminating the need to conceal them behind Groucho glasses.
The Funky Frog repurposes gently used kids’ gear and clothing left homeless by growth spurts. Package kids in top-brand shirts, skirts, and pants ($3.99+) in sizes 0–16 from brands such as Hanna Andersson and Mini Boden or simplify fashion quandaries in the formative years with prêt-a-porter two-pieces ($4.99+). A pair of sole-saving shoes ($2.99+) encourages emerging biped inclinations, and kids who prefer to be chauffeured via stroller can select their own set of wheels ($7.99+) or high-speed rails. Cultivate command-center skills in young astronauts with an all-in-one-place exersaucer, bouncy seat, or swing ($12.99+) or let them be king of their domain with a Pack n’ Play ($19.99+).
The savvy staff at Beadz 'N Bagz helps to accessorizes outfits with an impressive inventory of eye-catching handbags and baubles. Like a jewel-crusted styrofoam cup, accessories weld fashion and function into handsome packages, as seen with the delicate paisley teardrop key-finder ($10.85). Stylishly stash belongings inside a collection of handbags, available in an array of patterns and colors, Or opt for jewelry, such as a fully-metamorphosed butterfly bracelet ($18) or pocket-watch necklace ($22) to keep necks, ears, and arms eternally chic and punctual.
Known for its fashionable heels and comfy kicks, Sole Sisters has a devoted customer following and a store full of toe dressings that have earned it a spot on Detroit’s A-List for the last four years. Shoppers can perk up droopy little piggies with Bacio 61 wedges and heels ($139–$159) or Tsubo heels ($140), enabling the wearer to look sharp while meeting carnival height requirements. Members of the foot-liberation league can ventilate their trotters in Valdini comfort sandals ($83) and Madeline sandals ($29). Comfortable Tsubo walking shoes make a more practical option for the frequently bipedal than standing on the shoulders of a lumbering strongman ($100). Because armpits and elbows deserve attention, too, Sole Sisters also carries an extensive line of handbags from Frye, Tano ($230–$268) and Big Buddha ($39¬–$100).
Heritage Rug Outlet doesn't just sell rugs; they sell the world’s next generation of heirlooms. Their collection spans the spectrum of floor-covering possibilities, tempting homeowners with contemporary, traditional, and antique rugs from across the globe. Helpful staffers happily assist shoppers who need to match their rugs to a specific color swatch, ensuring they get the perfect rug for decorating a room or flying on with a princess. Completely devoted to customer service, staffers will also special order certain pieces, deliver them, or even bring them by to see how they fit in a room with no obligation to buy. Heritage recommends rug cleanings every four to five years, which they happily perform; their expert methods can be seen in the pristine preservation of a 100-year-old Iranian Persian rug that they keep onsite.
If you hate it when you hit your smart phone with a hammer and the screen cracks, you're in luck. The Pod Drop's tempered glass screen protectors are strong enough to withstand hammer blows, and have won the repair center celebrity fans including Kim Kardashian and Kevin Durant. The father-son duo behind the shop makes screen protectors to fit most devices, including iPads, iPhones, Samsung phones, and the touch screens that have started growing into people's foreheads.