Monday, 30 July 2018 12:16

Best of Shopping

Written by  Missy Black
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From a self-diagnosed “stuff person,” I know the strong urge to buy all the things. In the quest to live our best lives, it takes some books, flowers, massages, health food goodies, the right footwear and clothes — lots of clothes. A look at the winner’s circle shows you the shops and people that are dominating the scene, providing great customer service and quality merchandise.

Let’s face it: We’re all just eating and purchasing our feelings. Romance, intellectualism, wholesomeness, strength, sex appeal and straight-up attitude — we are buying what we want to have and feel and devour and become. So, if you want to know who’s serving it up best, you’re in the right place.

It’s thrilling to see Books & Mortar crush the Bookstore category with a first-place win. From author signings to community activism, this little (but mighty) bookstore means business. The Cherry Street shop really knows how to rock a front window and has welcomed a local book club to celebrate with champagne toasts, as well as hosted a Drag Queen Storytime. Pick up your next book at this proudly progressive, consciously curated and fiercely independent bookstore.

If you’re looking to save money and go the Thrift/Consignment route, you must know that Rock Paper Scissors made it to the top with its discerning brand-name clothing and accessories and the addition of local artists to its inventory. My last visit had me contemplating a Lilly Pulitzer dress over a zillion J. Crew pieces. If you’re over on East Fulton, the second place runner-up is Urban Exchange, where you’ll find uber-exclusive picks that’ll drive your fashionable friends crazy jealous.

When it comes to downtown shopping venues, the Downtown Market came in first in the Downtown Shopping District category. We’re not surprised with all the cool eats, sweet treats and events, this place is a veritable date night, hang out, brunch spot, and foodie gem all rolled into one. Mad props to Downtown Rockford for nabbing second place. As a resident of the area, I’m floored daily with all the boutique shopping and new businesses.

The city of Rockford heads toward the front again by winning second place in the Farmers Market category. First place goes to the Fulton Street Farmers Market — Grand Rapids’ favorite place to browse fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, beverages, flowers, plants and artisans. It’s all about connecting farmers and food creators to the West Michigan community.

Oh, and Captain Obvious here … Rebel once again wins for the best gifts. With their new expanded space, they’re probably planning world domination, and we’re here for it.

Antique Shop

  1. Eastown Antiques
    1515 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids
  2. Lost and Found Treasures of Old and New
  3. Archive Antiques and Repurposed Goods 

Athletic Goods Store

  1. Gazelle Sports
    3930 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids
  2. Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus
  3. Striders 

Beer/Wine/Liquor Store

  1. Martha’s Vineyard
    200 Union Ave NE, Grand Rapids
  2. Rishi’s International Beverage
  3. Smitty’s Specialty Beverage

Book Store

  1. Books & Mortar
    955 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids
  2. Schuler Books & Music
  3. Argos Book Shop

Bridal Boutique

  1. Renee Austin Wedding
    1555 Plainfield Ave., Grand Rapids
  2. Bridal Elegance
  3. BIANKA Bridal


  1. Sobie Meats
    3450 Remembrance Rd. NW, Walker
  2. Louise Earl Butcher
  3. E.A. Brady’s

Comic Book Store

  1. Vault of Midnight
    95 Monroe Center St. NW
  2. Argos Book Shop
  3. The Comic Signal

Downtown Shopping District

  1. Downtown Market
    435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
  2. Downtown Rockford
  3. Monroe Center 

Farmers Market

  1. Fulton Street Farmers Market
    1145 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
  2. Rockford Farmers Market
  3. Muskegon Farmers Market


  1. Eastern Floral
    2836 Broadmoor Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
  2. Posh Petals
  3. Stems Market 

Footwear Store

  1. Gazelle Sports
    3930 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids
  2. Mieras Family Shoes
  3. Rockford Footwear Depot 

Gift Shop

  1. Rebel Reclaimed
    1555 Wealthy St. SE, Suite 101, Grand Rapids
  2. Art of the Table
  3. (Tie) Apothecary Off Main
    (Tie) Pink Lemonade

Grocery Store

  1. Meijer
    Multiple locations,
  2. Kingma’s Market
  3. Ken’s Fruit Market 

Health Food Store

  1. Harvest Health Foods
    1944 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
  2. Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
  3. Health Hutt

Hiking/Outdoor Gear

  1. Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus
    1200 E. Paris Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
  2. Switchback Gear Exchange
  3. Gazelle Sports

Jewelry Store

  1. DeVries Jewelers
    411 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids
  2. Almassian Jewelers
  3. Dime & Regal 

Mens Clothing

  1. A.K. Rikk’s
    6303 28th St., Grand Rapids
  2. Slate
  3. Fitzgerald’s Mens Store

Musical Instrument Store

  1. Meyer Music
    2855 Lake Eastbrook Blvd. SE, Grand Rapids
  2. R.I.T. Music
  3. Rainbow Music

Pet Store

  1. Fido & Stitch
    820 Monroe Ave. NW #140, Grand Rapids
  2. V.I. Pets
  3. Barking Boutique

Thrift/Consignment Shop

  1. Rock Paper Scissors - Consignment Boutique
    145 Diamond Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
  2. Urban Exchange
  3. Rosa’s Closet

Tobacco/Cigar Shop

  1. Buffalo Tobacco Traders
    950 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
  2. Grand River Cigar Lounge
  3. Tuttle’s Select Cigars & Tobaccos

Vintage Clothing Store

  1. Lost & Found - Treasures of Old and New
    445 Century Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
  2. Captain Bizarro's Treasure World
  3. Flashback on Leonard/GRvintage Thrift

Women's Clothing

  1. A.K. Rikk’s
    6303 28th St., Grand Rapids
  2. Lee & Birch
  3. Leigh’s

Staff Picks:

Gift Shop

Nestology Shop + Studio
141 Diamond Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
This place is dripping in hippie vibes and I dig it. If you love the outdoors, you must visit this little corner of Grand Rapids where nature sweeps you up into her welcoming and soothing arms and tells you it’s all going to be OK. Where else can you find moth fabric art to display on your walls, or attend a felted cactus workshop? The owner’s jewelry line, Sugar Vibe, is stunning and worth the stop alone. Gifts range from mugs to prints to wood creations, soap, macramé goods, journals, embroidery hoop art and handmade dolls. — Missy Black

Men’s Clothing

Mercy Supply Co. 634 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids
Clothing racks lined with waxed canvas jackets and vests hang pristinely alongside a perfectly curated selection of jeans, leather boots and bags at Mercy Supply Co. Aside from clothing, the high-end men’s store offers a variety of apothecary goods from camping incense to backcountry body wash. Mercy Supply Co. mixes the lumberjack and urban aesthetic into a dreamy and timeless combination of quality goods that last a lifetime. — Michaela Stock

Women's Clothing

LA Miller 65 E. Bridge St., Rockford
I was there the day the owner got possession of the building and threw an impromptu sidewalk sale outside the store. It was day one and I knew this place gave me the style shivers. Fast-forward and I own a dress, duster, ragged-hem jeans and a sequined boss babe blazer and I’m nowhere near quitting. The Instagram account is my drug and the owner is too cute for words. This is special occasion stuff — like revenge-wear, when you know you’re going to run into your ex, or for the times when you want to feel like the next big thing. These are the clothes that create conversations. Every piece — be it a dress, jumpsuit, sandals or earrings — feels like it’s one part of a big moment in the making. Can clothing rescue us from our mundane lives? The answer is, “Yes.” The answer is LA Miller. — Missy Black

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