SVS Vision Center’s founders opened their first shop in Sterling Heights, Michigan, in 1974 to help the community clear up its vision. But even these optical gurus never foresaw their humble business expanding to more than 50 locations sprawled across 10 states. Today, each shop continues the tradition of ensuring ocular health and crystalline sight, beginning with exams from seasoned optometrists. Afterward, patients head to the optical dispensary, where they try on frames by Coach, Tiffany, Nike, Versace, or Ray-Ban. The staff then fits the stylish selection with polarized and scratch-protected prescription lenses to help guests read books clearly or see a charging moose from a distance. Most of SVS Vision Center’s frames can also hold sunglass lenses as well, eliminating squinting during summer months and tropical vacations.
At Fantasy Attic Costumes, hundreds of costumes and vintage pieces are imbued with an aura of authenticity via accessories, makeup, and wigs. A baseball costume ($40) outfits revelers in a button-up, pinstriped uniform, and 21st century Marilyn Monroes ($30) keep dresses from billowing up against wind turbines. Pint-size candy seekers can carouse the neighborhood as the Headless Horseman ($35) or go glam with a gold-and-emerald sequined Cleopatra costume ($47). Additionally, Fantasy Attic Costumes supplies Michiganders with an abundance of Ben Nye makeup, accenting eyes with a pearl sheen ($7) or combining hues from various F/X color wheels ($11.00+). To top off ensembles, Annie wigs ($24) enhance hairlines and colonial wigs ($30–$33) transport wearers back to days when land ownership was determined by hair height.
For more than a quarter century, Margolis Nursery has helped beautify landscapes with its selection of plants, trees, and supplies. A hearty collection of shrubbery cures the doldrums of a dejected lawn, with 2-gallon gold-cluster forsythias promising to brighten yards with bushes of golden yellow ($14) and 5-gallon endless summer hydrangeas joyously deploying their cool hues ($41). The 6- to 7-foot flowering dogwood ($100), famous for its bunches of hot-colored bracts and inability to operate a motor vehicle, spruces the vertical plane with its delicate umbels. Beneath all manicured shrubbery is a Monty Python reference and a solid foundation, obtainable in a variety of soils and mulches such as topsoil ($21/cu. yd.) or hardwood mulch ($27/cu. yd.), which brings out the vibrant colors of the plants it supports with its earthy tones. Margolis' green-thumbed staff provides free consultations for tentative gardeners and lawn enthusiasts ready to fill in the void between the sidewalk and the house.
At each Lover's Lane location, a team of romance specialists busies itself with increasing the chemistry between partners. The process requires a few key ingredients—a non-intimidating atmosphere, a broad knowledge of the shop's erotic wares, and most importantly, a playful and creative approach to intimacy. This fun approach is what keeps the store stocked with such a wide variety of items, from enticing lingerie sets available in petite and full-figure sizes to Kama Sutra massage oils.
In order to ensure customers feel completely comfortable, the lingerie and costumes are separated from the adult toys. The apparel side of the store turns into a holiday hotspot filled with romantic seasonal styles. The other side features such items as luxury massagers from Lelo and California Exotic Novelties and Lover's Kits, which package several products into a single purchase. The Perfect Seduction kit, for example, includes a silk blindfold, rose petals, and a singing gondolier.
The florists at Norton's understand the thoughtful sentiment behind a vase full of velvety roses, a ribbon-strewn corsage, or a summery bouquet, handmaking each floral masterpiece to complement a wide range of special occasions. They owe their expertise to Norton's well-established tradition as a local institution and family-run enterprise—the shop traces its origins back to 1892, an age when men still wore hats, horse-drawn carriages roamed the streets, and a gift of flowers was a legally binding marriage contract. Today, Norton's creates gifts for nearly any occasion, from bright yellow flowers in a smiley-face vase for Get Well messages, to full-scale designs of arrangements and bouquets for weddings.
Emblazoned with the company motto—“We Deliver the WOW!”—Norton's fleet of brightly colored delivery vans travels throughout Washtenaw County seven days a week, brightening homes with floral well-wishes, unique gifts, and romantic roses.
If Dr. Frankenstein hadn’t taken up medicine, he may have taken on a different line of work after visiting One Twenty Three Skate Shop. Shiny boards, trucks, bearings, wheels, and hardware fill the store, just waiting to be assembled into a custom deck by some mad local street scientist. Shop owner, former skater, and screenprinter Kevin Frye is always around, unpacking and displaying new boards by Element and Toy Machine, shoes by Circa, or wheels by a negligent donut baker.
In an interview with Annarbor.com, Frye noted that the One Twenty Three inventory is based primarily on what local skaters have said they would like to see in a skate shop. He follows a personal mission to keep local kids active and is currently meeting with the Parks and Recreation Commission to discuss plans for a local skate park.