Support Local Grand Rapids Businesses with These Super Stylish, Last Minute Gifts
Thanks to my generous, kind and amazing husband, Cory, for being the inspiration for this blog post. I love you. Thank you for getting your holiday shopping done in the second-to-last minute this year.
I am normally a type A, list making, get Christmas shopping done in July type of person, so I am very rarely on the lookout for a last minute gift, but since I've become a mother, things have changed. I forget lunch dates, peoples' names, driving directions and yes, even gifts. Luckily, I have the most wonderful husband in the world who has a tendency to wait until the last minute to obtain his holiday gifts, so I am a bit used to scrambling for things with a few days to spare.
Since I've spent the last year learning about what Grand Rapids has to offer in the way of shopping, I wanted to write a last minute gift guide for people like my husband, who must venture out into the world, instead of internet-shopping it all, and buy things in person with not enough time for most places to ship things to you before the big day. If you are smiling, smugly to yourself because all of your gifts are purchased, wrapped, tagged, and sorted by recipient in color-coded wrapping paper, make sure to pass this on to anyone you know who makes a habit of waiting until the last minute. The added benefit is that you (or they) will be supporting the local community as well as not showing up empty handed or apologizing for yet another Amazon.com gift card yielding.
This list is anything but exhaustive, and there so many great places to get gifts and support your local community, so instead of Amazon-primining if this (last minute) holiday season, check out this list and take some time out of your lunch hour, errand running or Netflix binging to get something personal, local and most of all, on-time for the people who matter to you this holiday.
For the Foodie
Recipient: The Wine & Cheese Connoisseur
The Crushed Grape and The Cheese Lady are two of my local favorites for wine and cheese. I love throwing wine and cheese parties, and these are must-stop shops to hit up before events like those. The best thing I've ever eaten from The Cheese Lady was a potato chip goat's milk gouda that barely made it home from the store. I heard about this unique, artisan shop, from my cousin who used to live in Muskegon, where she opened up her first shop. The Crushed Grape is located at the entrance of the Celadon New Town neighborhood development, where I used to live. They offer a 10% discount if you live there and they have their more affordable and popular wines on the main floor, with their entire upstairs dedicated to wine. They also have a decent selection os local craft beer, including a build your own 6 pack, as well as liquor. Both of these places have tons of great gift baskets at a variety of prices as well as cooking supplies and great service.
Recipient: The Cook
If you know somebody who loves to cook, look no further than The Local Epicurian. Located in uptown, in a booming area surrounded by EVERYTHING DELICIOUS, there is a marketplace called The Local Epicurian. They sell homemade pasta, fresh or dried, artisan cheeses, sauces, toppings and other cooking ingredients and condiments. They also offer classes that teach you how to make homemade pasta. I've taken one and coming to the class with previous knowledge of how to make homemade pasta, I will tell you that these classes are legit. They teach you the old school way, completely hands on, without the use of a food processor. Thanks to my mama, I'm an excellent pasta cook, so I don't do it this way, and I doubt they do, but it's super fun to learn, none the less, and you leave with a pound of your own homemade pasta. Their pasta classes are about $59 per person and for around the same price, they also offer tons of classes and tastings for cheese, truffles, chocolates and a variety of other artisan delights. This is also a great place to stop if you need to pick up some things to bring to a dinner, cocktails or potluck. They have all kinds of food and drink gifts and their classes are always a great option as well.
Recipient: The Beer Snob
A bit ago, one of my former employers paid to send our entire web applications department on a half-day brewery tour of Grand Rapids. We had time to hit 3 breweries, were transported safely to and from on a very nice bus, and were taught how each brewery makes their delicious and enticing concoctions. I'm not positive that we used them back then, but GR Beer Tours is the big group in town doing this now. This would make a great gift for that beer snob (we all have at least one now days) on your list.
Recipient: The Vegan...or the Pizza Lover
Brick Road Pizza may be one of the best pizza joints that I've even eaten at. Many of their ingredients are locally sourced and they provide an extensive menu, including a (compared to most restaurants) large selection of vegan choices. A very good friend of mine who happens to be vegan recommends Brick Road Pizza as the best vegan place in town, citing her favorite pizza as the Vegan Surprise. While, I'll admit, the name sounds a bit humorous to me (I'm picturing a vegan lady jumping out of a cake...), I completely trust her recommendation as their non-vegan pizza that I've had was AH-MA-ZING. She also recommends the vegan pulled pork and bahn mi sandwiches. If you've got a vegan friend or a just a friend who likes pizza, get them a gift card to Brick Road Pizza, or it might be a fun idea to just surprise them with food one day. Nobody can deny that they like being surprised with delicious food.
For the Fashionista
Recipient: The Luxe Lady
We did our last Shop Local series post at Leigh's in Breton Village, and it was, in a word, dreamy. We got to play with Stella McCartney, Rachel Zoe, Alexander McQueen and so many others and it was heaven to me. They have a great selection of women's designer fashion, jewelry, shoes and accessories. They also have professional makeup services and a variety of gifts from labels like Kate Spade. Buyer beware though, be prepared to drop some serious cash at Leigh's. It's worth it, in my opinion, but pricey.
Recipient: The Grand Rapids Girl
If you have a friend who lives and breathes Grand Rapids, head to Lee & Birch immediately. They have two stores, one in Grand Rapids and one in Grand Haven. They sell a wide range of women's clothing, accessories, shoes, and even fragrances that tailor, in my opinion, to the Grand Rapids style scene. They hold fashion shows several times throughout the year to show off their styles and collaborate with many of the non-profits and other shops in the area. If you want something more personal than a gift certificate, I'd recommend a super warm blanket scarf, or a chunky knit cardigan.
The Recipient: The Jewelry Obsessed
If you haven't read my local talent series post on Alyssa Ferguson, owner of Fleurology Designs, go read it now, I'll wait. Alyssa is an amazing florist and person. She designs and creates living succulent jewelry, and it is beautiful. Her gorgeous designs were featured in our Shop Local post at Jade. I highly doubt, no matter how much jewelry this recipient has, that they have a living succulent piece yet. Her prices are very reasonable, and if you're in Grand Rapids, she's local so it would probably be possible to get one before Christmas Eve. You can contact her at email@example.com.
For the Designer
Recipient: The Friend That Still Uses Paper
I may be in the tech industry, but I still love my paper. If you're looking for something personal, funny or downright blunt, look no further. 6.25 Paper is a company that makes custom event invitations, all kinds of stationary, locally sourced projects and goods, and gifts of all sorts. They even have beautiful gift wrapping and supplies in case you've forgotten to buy that yet as well. They feature beautiful typography with awesomely crude sayings, but also sentimental and encouraging motivational gifts and messages. If you or your gift recipient love paper, it's tough to not spend a fortune here, not because things are expensive, but because their things are awesome.
Recipient: The Homebody
I think that this time of year, we all have a tendency to want to stay home and snuggle up with a blanket and cocoa, but we all have that friend (or are that friend) that is exceptionally good at getting out of going out and loves to live in their pjs. For that friend, I give you West Elm, where everything is soft, warm and inviting. They feature a lot of mid-century and contemporary furniture pieces and also have a ton of adorable gifts like snow globes, fuzzy throws and throw pillows, candles that smell like "Dawn" and "Sea," vases (SO MANY), jewelry boxes, trinket dishes, wine glasses, you name it. It is actually hard to leave a West Elm without purchasing at least a few gifts for others. And by others, I mostly mean myself. ;)
Recipient: The Cyclist, Decor Enthusiast...or The Hipster
A former colleague and friend of mine founded a company called Bike Antlers. They take bike handles and make a cool wall piece that any cycle enthusiast would love. They are hand made in West Michigan and have custom projects available. Check out their website for more and contact them for availability.
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