By Pam Houghton
My sister Trish and I met at Meadowbrook Art Center in Novi, where her art degree has made her an indispensable part of the framing store’s team for 20 years – at least according to Wendy Pfeffer, who owns the shop with husband Bob.
While some of their customers request “every day framing” services, many come to have “the special moments in their lives – things they want to see and remember – framed,” Wendy said.
The holidays are ripe for such requests, with items such as high school sports jerseys, christening gowns, war medals and patches, antique Christmas cards or meaningful family photos framed and turned into gifts for family and friends, Bob said.
Also gift-worthy are the sports memorabilia the store carries, including stuff for both the Spartan fan – yay, says this alum – or the Wolverine, giving equal time to that other school.
The day I visited, a framed panoramic view of the Rose Bowl in 2014, a year the Spartans won, retailed for $150. Go Green!
Next, Trish and I drove to Novi Town Center at Grand River and Novi Road where we proceeded to the nearest Coney Island-like restaurant – Athenian Detroit Eatery – for sustenance.
After finishing our meals – two scrambled eggs and a half order of French Toast for me, Greek salad and chili fries for her (sorry, Dr. Oz!) – we were off to our next stop, Charming Charlie, a quick walk around the corner.
It was my first time in the accessories store. In fact, I’d never heard of it, even though there are nine stores in Michigan and nearly 300 in the U.S. according to their website.
The store was filled with purses in nearly every shade of yellow, red, blue, green, gray and taupe along with wallets and scarves and lots and lots of jewelry. They also carry clothing – dressy and casual tops, and leggings in a variety of colors. I purchased a black jersey-like top offset by silvery threads for $25 and $15 leggings for my daughter.
Next stop: The Container Store at West Oaks, just north of I-96 off Novi Road. We were both excited to see Michigan’s first Container Store that opened last June. The Troy store opened in September.
It seems everything is ripe for organization. Besides providing the goods to organize bathrooms, kitchens and office space, they sell little bags that keep underwear tidy while you travel – and shelving products that keep dust off your shoes.
Though we left empty-handed, there were plenty of gift ideas for the persnickety on my list: bins, baskets and trays in all shapes, colors and textures.
On we went to Nordstrom Rack, also in West Oaks, where there was room to roam between the aisles: no accidently pulling a designer blouse off a display rack with your purse. On our visit, seasonal coats filled the center of the store, with men’s clothing on one side, and women’s clothing and accessories on the other.
As an aficionado of Euro-style comfort shoes, I headed for the shoe section in the back of the store. While I hemmed and hawed over the shoes, I couldn’t pass up a pair of slippers. They may not be the most original gift, but who can’t use a fluffy pair while they cozy up to the fire or catch up on Netflix? My sister talked me out of the fuzzy, off-white Jessica Simpson pair because “they’ll get dirty!” So instead I settled on the more practical Dearfoams for $14.97.
It was then my sister abandoned our shopping trip to pick her daughter up from school. Off I went, to boldly go where nearly every west side resident has gone before: Twelve Oaks.
In a long ago and far away time, Twelve Oaks was my go-to mall. But in the last 20 years, I’ve only been a handful of times. It has aged remarkably well, thanks to a series of major renovations in the ‘90s and again in 2007. A quick walk through Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom and Macy’s reflects the orderliness and modernity of the mall.
I stopped in at the temporary American Girl store located on the upper level between Lord and Taylor and Nordstrom. One of six pop-up stores around the country, the store is open until January; the latest doll, civil rights-era Melody from Detroit, has been a big seller, a sales associate told me.
The American Girl books have also been popular. “They are really well-written,” and appeal to girls who can relate to the stories, she said.
Then it was on to more stores – The Art of Shaving, a good gift store for guys; Clarks, a shoe store founded by British Quakers in 1825; and Macy’s, for the Maurice Salad. Eventually, I found myself in Art is in Market – a store that lets local artists sell and display their work in high-traffic malls – on the upper level just outside of Macy’s.
All sorts of gift ideas here, including handcrafted leather purses with the “D” insignia by local artist Jared Mark, Mitten Brand cutting boards, handmade pottery pressed from Michigan license plates, a set of books by a young author inspired by a sports history class at Western Michigan University and food products made in Michigan including Bell Stone Toffee from Novi.
I ended my shopping trip as I often do with a skinny, decaf, vanilla latte from Starbucks, centrally located on the lower level. If you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet, Novi is a good place to begin. NS
Meadowbrook Art Center
41200 10 Mile Road, Novi ,
248-477-6620 , www.meadowbrookartcenter.com
Charming Charlie at Novi Town Center
26020 Ingersol Dr., Novi
Athenian Detroit Eatery at Novi Town Center
43324 W. 11 Mile Road, Novi
The Container Store at West Oaks
43525 West Oaks Dr., Novi
Nordstrom Rack at West Oaks
43839 West Oaks Drive, Novi
American Girl at Twelve Oaks
27500 Novi Road, Novi Upper level near Nordstrom
Art is in Market at Twelve Oaks
27500 Novi Road, Novi
Upper level near Macy’s
Also at Twelve Oaks: Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Nordstrom