by Shelly Johnson
Ever been to Plymouth, Michigan? If not, get there for some holiday shopping. There are so many vintage stores, specialty shops, restaurants and more you could spend a week there, discovering all the city has to offer. It is also a friendly Michigan town tucked away between pleasant neighborhoods of historic homes with quaint charm.
Begin your day as early as 7 a.m. for a decadent, delicious or healthy as heck breakfast at 580 Forest Avenue at the Omelette Waffle Cafe. You can park in the adjacent parking area within the Westchester Square Mall, order at the bar and then have a seat inside and watch the chefs expertly prepare your meal. If it’s warm enough, sit outside under an umbrella. Tis the season for pumpkin, so dive into a plate of pumpkin pancakes, waffles or French toast stuffed with banana berry or banana nut filling.
Matt Amin and wife Jen run the unassuming open kitchen restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch (open ‘til 2 p.m.). They serve freshly squeezed orange juice and use Guernsey milk products. You can also enjoy salads, crepes and made-to-order breakfasts and lunches.
Veteran Server Kathrine Gjylameti said, “If healthy, yet satisfying is what you are aiming for, customers rave about our popular veggie-green omelet that serves up broccoli, asparagus, avocado, peppers and spinach so tasty you will forget you are getting all of your greens for the day. Or, the California, which includes bacon, avocado, tomato and cheddar cheese to please the pallet and provide protein.” She is proud the employees know their regular customers by heart. “If they change their order for some reason, we notice. It’s a fun place to work and I think that reflects on the customers, who enjoy our atmosphere and, of course, the amazing food”.
Around the corner on Forrest Avenue, you will see the store front and black awning of Basket Kreations: The Gift Shoppe. Definitely walk in: Owner, Stella Dunlap, will dazzle you with her creative ideas for gifts for everyone on your list. She began her business years ago making gift baskets in her basement; over time it turned into a store. “I always look for a more memorable or long lasting alternative to giving flowers. For instance, I take a pasta bowl, fill it with products like sauce, pasta, spices and cheese and make it a beautiful presentation for an Italian dinner themed gift,” she said.
Her specialty is “made-in-Michigan” products. “It’s important to feature Michigan products that will in turn elevate our economy. We make corporate gifts called ‘Love, from Michigan’ that are a hit. I fill a container with things like a Michigan mitten-shaped cutting board, Michigan cherry salsa, honey or anything local for my clients.”
She has a very extensive Metro-Detroit area delivery service too, so you can also create your own gifts and have them delivered.
Have you ever heard of a “Men’s Panic Party”? Well, that’s just one of the creative events happening at upscale jewelry store Dearborn Jewelers of Plymouth, located in the Mayflower Center at 805 W. Ann Arbor Trial. Every year Dearborn Jewelers has a Men’s Panic Party and men attend to do shopping for their significant others who have filled out a wish list. The men gather to eat pizza and drink beverages while shopping. Matthew Allen is a jewelry consultant and part of the family-owned business who said, “Prior to the panic party, women come in and fill out a detailed wish list. These are items that they have already tried on and hope to receive. It’s really a fun night and takes the intimidation factor out of buying jewelry because the men know their wives, daughters or girlfriends will definitely love the gift.”
Dearborn Jewelers of Plymouth has a contemporary in-house design studio with an old-school jeweler feel. Allen said, “We can carve wax and cast a design or use computer capabilities to create something new. In addition, clients have us re-purpose an inheritance piece, give an older engagement setting a turbo kick, or add more bling.” His observations are that current trends include Art Deco designs, and that platinum seems to be the most popular metal, with rose gold making a comeback. The store also works with a master engraver, appraisal clinics and gemologists.
Summer and winter sports enthusiasts can’t miss Sun & Snow located at 388 S. Main Street. Snowboard and ski enthusiasts can get a custom boot made from an in-house boot press. Manager Andy Bihn said, “We will fit the boots so that you will be super comfortable and have plenty of support and toe room.”
The store’s enthusiasm spills over into the community. They feature competitive swim suits for local swim teams and during the Ice Fest, set up a cross country course in Kellogg Park where kids and adults can try out skis. Bihn said, “It’s a lot of fun and allows people exposure to the sports we love.”
Parents will save money on equipment through the “DOTS” program. Employee Marissa Kowalski said kids and parents alike love the system. “DOTS stands for Don’t Outgrow the Snow; it’s basically a buy back system that gives customers the ability to get a new pair of skis each year through a buy back/exchange program.”
The inventory of skis and other sports equipment is immense. It’s really a one-stop shop, because they also carry a wide range of winter clothing labels.
Continuing on your shopping route in search of casual or high end clothing, stop in Bella Mia on Forest Avenue or Bella Mia Dressed Up on Ann Arbor Trail. The store is owned by the mother and daughter team of Arlette and Sarah Stobbe who describe their store as “shopping in your best friend’s closet.” Senior Sales Associate Mary Wojck said, “We dress every age group and carry sizes double zero to 30. We pride ourselves on impeccable customer service and create a look from head to toe in one store, which is rare.”
The Stobbes go on seasonal buying trips and keep their inventory stocked with classics and contemporary fashions for any age. It’s also a popular stop for wedding parties, mother-of-the-bride apparel, proms and formal events. The stores host VIP shopping events and sales in conjunction with holiday city events.
Why not finish up your shopping day with a chocolate treat at Alpine Chocolat Haus on 322 S. Main St.? It’s a sweet lover’s dream. If you’re lucky enough to run into the store’s owner, Bruce Brown, the visit will be unforgettable. He’s a kid at heart and truly loves his job. His main kitchen is in his original store in Gaylord and from there he fills his four other Michigan locations with irresistible treats. Brown says, “A recently popular item that people seem to love are chocolate covered potato chips, which you can buy by the bucket. It mixes the salty, crunch and sweet that most people love. The sea salt and caramel fudge fans keep coming back for more,” he said.
Brown’s nickname is der Chololatemeister for good reason. Customers can stop in for a quick grab-and-go, melt-in-your mouth-morsel or can order 400 caramel apples for an event. Brown’s enthusiasm is catchy and when you walk into the store, you won’t know where to begin. Start with a melted nut cluster, a truffle, an ice cream cone, caramel corn, chocolate covered fruit, fudge, cookies or just about anything that catches your eye. You won’t be disappointed. NS
The Omelette Waffle Cafe,
Dearborn Jewelers of Plymouth
Sun & Snow
Basket Kreations The Gift Shoppe
Alpine Chocolat Haus
Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce