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Guide to Ann Arbor's best gift stores

Found Gallery at 415 N. 5th Ave. (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
Found Gallery at 415 N. 5th Ave. (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor is a town of many things -- good food, culture, festivals. It's home to U of M and The Big House. And it is also a great place to buy gifts.

There are numerous shops and boutiques scattered around town that offer unique finds for family and friends. Plus, who doesn't want an excuse to explore the streets of the downtown area, especially since winter seems to finally be behind us?

We've compiled a list of the top gift stores, based on recommendations and our own personal experience.

Kerrytown District

Found Gallery

This store inside Kerrytown Shops is filled with new and "found" vintage items, many of them crafted by Michigan-based artists.

Enjoy browsing its colorful buttons table, decorative pillows, pottery, candles, hand-crafted jewelry and more.

Be prepared to spend some time here. It's super easy to get lost in Found.

Location: Kerrytown Shops, 415 N. 5th Ave.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Read: Inside Found: The shop with breathtaking displays in Ann Arbor's Kerrytown

Hollander's 

Not only is this shop a colorful feast for the eyes, it features a variety of greeting cards, art supplies and, most notably, decorative papers.

They make the perfect gift for crafty-types. Another idea? Gift one of their many bookbinding classes. Owners Tom and Cindy host them regularly in their basement workshop and invite artists from all over to teach classes.

Location: Kerrytown Shops, 410 N. 4th Ave.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Read: A glimpse into the colorful world of Ann Arbor's Hollander's

Catching Fireflies

This "whimsical gift gallery" puts a smile on your face before you even walk in the door.

You can find just about anything, from greeting cards to fun dish towels and retro coasters. And expect to find lots of Michigan-made knickknacks on your adventure in this special Kerrytown spot.

Location: 419 Detroit St.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Heavenly Metal

Expect to find unique jewelry, scarves and apparel in this artsy space featuring two canine residents, Lucy and Willi.

Another reason to love it? Owner Vicki also cuts hair and offers her services on-site. Cuts are done dry and cost $45.

It's a true community shop!

Location: 208 N. 4th Ave.

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(Photo: Heavenly Metal)

Thistle & Bess

A few doors down from Heavenly Metal is this lovely store.

Get your fill of fun throw pillows, bags, candles, handprinted greeting cards and jewelry in this unique space.

The owners travel the world searching for one-of-a-kind antique pieces to blend with their newer products.

Location: 222 N. 4th Ave.

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(Photo: Thistle & Bess)

Fustini's Oils and Vinegars

Who doesn't love delicious olive oils and vinegars?

This spot, located on the second floor of Kerrytown Shops, allows you to sample its delicious products.

From apple cider vinegar made from native Italian apples to olive oil infused with sage and wild mushrooms, there is something for everybody here.

Location: Kerrytown Shops, 407 N. 5th Ave., Second Floor

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Sixteen Hands

This lively shop opened in 1975 as an artists coop with eight members (hence the name).

Over time, it transformed into a gift store that sells items made by artists from all over the world, including Michigan. It has partnered with fair-trade organizations supporting women artisans in their home countries.

The stories behind each item are just as amazing as the pieces themselves.

Location: Kerrytown Shops, 407 N. 5th Avenue, Second Floor 

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Spun 

For those in your life who love to knit, a few doors down from Fustini's is Spun, a family-owned specialty yarn shop.

Browse aisles of high-quality yarn and hand-knit goods such as hats, scarves and miniature sweaters for children.

This shop shouts "comfort" from the moment you walk in the door.

Location: Kerrytown Shops, 407 N. 5th Avenue, Second Floor 

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Main Street area

Cherry Republic

Hands down the best part of this store is the samples.

Taste your way through its products, such as cherry salsa, dried Montmorency cherries and cherry jam.

According to its website, Cherry Republic is the "world's largest exclusive retailer of specialty cherry products and gifts," offering more than 200 cherry products.

Added bonus? The gift boxes are absolutely stunning.

Location: 223 S. Main St.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Ten Thousand Villages

This store is actually a nonprofit that sells goods made by villagers from all over the world. It partners with local artisans in 30 mostly developing countries to help generate income to better the artisans' communities and and their lives.

Featuring a variety of fair-trade products including jewelry, handwoven baskets, wall decor and more, this shop appeals to all sorts of tastes.

Another neat fact? Its workers are volunteers.

303 S. Main St.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Rock Paper Scissors

Whether you're shopping for a baby shower gift or a wedding present or are in the market for some custom stationery, this boutique is the place for you.

It features seasonal gifts and home goods, from bedding to dinnerware.

Be sure to attend one of its many events, from calligraphy classes to floral workshops.

216 S. Main St.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Le Bon Macaron

We have one word for this elegant flavor boutique: yum.

Macarons always make a great gift because they're delicious, pretty and oh-so indulgent.

Also: Did you know that they're gluten-free?

Le Bon Macaron features an assortment of flavors, including salted caramel, honey lavender and champagne. Some are brushed with edible gold.

Enjoy a French press coffee or an Italian soda during your visit to its on-site cafe.

Location: 209 S. 4th Ave.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

The Himalayan Bazaar

The story behind this one-of-a-kind shop on Main Street is incredible.

Read: The Himalayan Bazaar: A little corner of Nepal in Ann Arbor

Everything in the store, from relaxing singing bowls -- ask for a demonstration -- to prayer flags and felt handbags, is from Nepal.

It has its own fairy door and a mini-museum at the back of the store.

Be sure to talk to the owners, Heather and Pem, who each have fascinating stories.

Location: 218 S. Main St.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Roeda Studio

This is one of the most unique gift shops around.

How it works: You buy a plain frame and decorate it with seasonal magnets. It's essentially a picture frame that can change according to seasons and milestones. The craft is called "magnetic scrapbooking."

The studio's magnets are made in Grand Rapids, and it also sells lots of fun Michigan-themed items.

Location: 319 S. Main St.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

State Street area

Caravan Gift Shop

Another store that's eye-candy for shoppers, this is arguably the city's oldest gift shop.

Located in the picturesque Nickels Arcade and established in 1927, this store sells handblown glass, Russian nesting dolls, art-print lamps and more.

Location: 1-3 Nickels Arcade

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Bivuoac

This store for lovers of the outdoors has been serving State Street since 1970.

Owner Ed Davidson still frequents the shop and enjoys telling customers about the history of the store.

Enjoy a large selection of outdoor apparel and gear, and super friendly staff.

Bivouac also features a boutique, with skin care products, scented candles and other great gift items.

Location: 336 S. State St.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

West Ann Arbor

Ace Barnes Hardware

You may be asking why a hardware store made the list, but that's probably because you haven't paid this Ann Arbor gem a visit yet.

Voted one of the Coolest Ace Hardwares of 2018 in the country, this family-owned store has been a true local favorite for decades.

Mother and daughter team Rita and Bridgett Barnes do all the shopping for the housewares section, which features local and international brands and great seasonal finds.

Location: 2105 W. Stadium Blvd.

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Read: Inside Ann Arbor's Ace Barnes Hardware: A 2018 'Coolest Hardware Store'

Motawi Tileworks

University of Michigan art school graduate Nawal Motawi started making tiles in her garage in 1992. Since then, she has expanded her tile operation to a warehouse on the west side.

There, you can find a showroom and gift shop featuring select decorative tiles. There's also a sale section with discounted items.

Motawi's tile workshops also make a great gift, but be sure to look for one ahead of time because they sell out fast.

Location: 170 Enterprise Drive

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(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Read: Motawi Tileworks: From garage to renowned studio in Ann Arbor

Ready, set, shop!


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