Let’s Talk Shop | Features

Your guide to buying summer souvenirs
By Lynda Wheatley | June 4, 2022

As much as we love the tchotchke, trinket and t-shirt shops of old Up North, our dusty shelves and overstuffed drawers can no longer accommodate. If you’re in the same sinking boat this summer, how about commemorating your trip with something for your walls, wrists, or kitchen instead? These retailers carry a ton of fun and functional items that showcase authentic North ingenuity, craftsmanship and style, most of which won’t even shrink in the wash after being worn.

Korner Gem, Traverse City and Frankfurt
Rarely do we suggest swapping a day of wading in shallow Lake Michigan for rock hunting indoors, but we won’t lie: Kevin Gauthier’s Korner Gem jewelry shops, on the west side of Traverse City and downtown Frankfort, are a veritable treasure trove of local treasures coveted by rockhounds. Among jewelry “standards” such as diamonds, pearls, rubies, silver and gold, you will find Petoskey stones, Leland Blues, agates, puddings and countless other rocks and minerals mined from the region and transformed into earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, ornaments, etc. Gauthier and his team of artisans not only cut the stones, but also create and customize creations from scratch for their clients – a rare double duty for jewelry stores these days.

Nonetheless, the real reason we love stepping into Gauthier boutiques is for the chance to catch the man himself. A rock picker since childhood, Gauthier is a traveling compendium of information on the stones and minerals of the Great Lakes. In fact, he wrote the books – plural: he and co-author Bruce Mueller wrote several Rock Picker guides (there’s one for Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior, plus the Complete Guide to Petoskey stones) which are our go-to’s every time we go to a Great Lakes beach. The books are available at her stores, along with Petoskey stone polishing kits, stone tumblers, and jewelry-making supplies. kornergem.com

Patina, Onekama
The mantra of Patina – the boutique of weird, unexpected and never-matching furniture, accessories and other bric-a-brac – is “found, flawed and fabulous”. Perhaps because it looks as much like us as our favorite household items, we never make a weekend south on the M-22 without veering off to this downtown Onekama store.

Open from May to December and brimming with an ever-changing array of curated exhibits, Patina is where you’re also likely to find a velvet couch, a brass fireplace screen and a coffee machine end table. write transformed into a cottage that you. a book of vintage poems, a chic new summer dress, or a handful of jawbones artfully springing from a moss-filled pot.

Owners and artists Nikki Schneider and Karen Kolb opened the shop in 2019 and continue to stock it with old and new home and garden items, as well as their own repurposed pieces they found in markets around the world. chips, attics and other “junker” hot spots. Whether you love unique pieces for the home or just want inspiration to turn your own basement trash can into a treasure trove, this place will open your eyes to the possibilities. Please note: hours are very limited (Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) but appointments are available. (312) 909-0115, skateamichigan.com

The painted bird, Suttons Bay
An eclectic inventory of contemporary American craftsmanship includes the floor-to-ceiling gallery that is The Painted Bird of Suttons Bay. And although the shop behind its must-have purple facade is small, it offers so much shopping potential that you could easily spend hours inside, finding something for everyone on your Christmas and birthday lists. .

Merchandise here is courtesy of more than 150 artists – most Michigan, many local – and runs the gamut from jewelry and clothing accessories (scarves, hats, handbags, etc.) to toys and games to sculpture, furniture and wall art. Some of the quintessential gifts Leelanau artists love to bring home: felted wool mittens or bouquet pins made with love by BaaBaaZuZu; a map of Leelanau County or another locally inspired puzzle from Glen Arbor Artisan Kristin Hurlin; beach stone jewelry from Jane Voight of Northport; and one of Peter Low’s charcuteries or other serving boards. painted-bird.com

Northern Roots, Glen Arbor
Credit a massive storm and a double dose of entrepreneurship for bringing Northern Roots to life. The brainchild of brother-sister duo Zach and Bella Pryor, Northern Roots was born when the two, flabbergasted by the destruction of trees, bridges, docks and fences that followed the 100 mph winds of an early August thunderstorm in 2015, decided to do something with some of the broken wood it left in their path. They shaped and painted them into NoMi-inspired panels, which they began selling at local farmers’ markets in the summer of 2016.

The Ann Arbor-based pair, then just teenagers, persevered and have since expanded their product line, from signs and posters to soaps, stickers, candles, jewelry, coasters, barware and more. You can find all of their creative products online or, our pick, visit their retail store in person at one of Glen Arbor’s hottest spots: Boonedocks Terrace. The siblings donate a portion of all their profits to the Sleeping Bear Dunes Heritage Trail and the nonprofit Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear, which assists in the process of restoring a historic property in the agricultural district of Port Oneida. www.northernrootsmichigan.com

NorthGoods, Petoskey
Of course, you can head to Benzie County to find stationery featuring the woodcuts of the late naturalist artist Gwen Frostic. You might head to Charlevoix for a jar of Harwood Gold Chardonnay Maple Mustard along the way. You can even head to the Mackinac Bridge to try and capture a bit of the grandeur that prolific Petoskey artist Mary Bea manages. Or you can stroll downtown Petoskey’s NorthGoods to find these and hundreds of other made-in-Michigan arts, crafts and gifts, and take a look inside. of a century-old safe.

Originally home to the First State Bank of Petoskey, erected in 1906, the building now houses fine art, pottery, glassware, woodcraft and anything stone-themed. Petoskey, even Petoskey Stone Pop-Sockets. Ladies, if your men are inspecting the safe, consider locking them in for a few; you’ll need more time to check out the 3-in-1 shoulder bags designed by Jackie Garrett of Petoskey, the girl behind the famous Vilah Bloom diaper bags with built-in wipes (plus an assortment of stylish handbags, clutches, and wallets for other life stages). north-goods.com

Lilac and lemon, Gaylord
Having survived her sidewalk planters being burned down last fall, the owner’s house moving this spring, and most recently a tornado, it’s safe to say that the only year Lilac and Lemon has been opened on the main street of Gaylord was neither easy nor windy.

Yet when you step into this feminine haven of respite – think handmade soaps, embroidered pillows, cozy blankets, playful textiles, painted and cut-out furniture, bath bombs and kitchen and housewares galore – you can’t help but go back to simpler times. , when functional objects never failed to look pretty. We can’t quite call this one a souvenir shop, though so many of its repurposed painted pieces have clearly called Northern Michigan home for many decades. A meander is a must for any buyer who loves all things quaint, comfortable, beautiful and unique and wants to bring a little bit of that home back. lilaclemonnm.com

Laura J. Boyer