3 unique shops that gift seekers can only find in Macomb County

Macomb County is full of possibilities when it comes to holiday shopping. The area hosts numerous shopping centers, including Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights, Macomb Mall in Roseville, and Partridge Creek in Clinton Township. As for small businesses, the county serves as a home base for more than 1,600 independently owned and operated retailers. Heading into the holidays, we've put together a list of three of the more interesting destinations shoppers can look for gifts this season.

Birch and Arrow (David Lewinski)Birch and Arrow 

Birch and Arrow is a home goods store that offers a plentiful mix of vintage and handmade goods. It's located at 24392 Crocker Blvd. in Clinton Township in a quaint-looking brick storefront.

"We are a local shop that specializes in a little bit of everything," says owner Jennifer Gasparetto. "I like to showcase local artists, and I have several Michigan vendors. I try to stay local and handmade."

Gasparetto has many years of experience making hand-crafted goods and worked as a vendor in another store before opening Birch and Arrow. She moved into theBirch and Arrow carries vintage and hand-crafted goods. (David Lewinski) space on Crocker Boulevard five years ago, following the closing of a resale shop that had previously occupied the building. 

The Birch and Arrow owner often work together with her husband to make things like entryway tables or benches, as well as more unique repurposed items.

"I like vintage hardware and old chippy wood," says Gasparetto. "Right now, we're making Christmas trees out of old white picket fences."

In addition to home decor, Birch and Arrow offers a variety of clothing, bags, mugs, candles, soaps, and Michigan-themed merchandise. Local artisan brands carried at the store include wooden sign artisans like KDeSigns Home Decor and Liv a Little (which runs its own market in New Haven), decor creators like Whimsy and Wine, and body and bath product makers like Simply Creative Living

These offerings have created a loyal fan base for the shop, and Gasparetto does her best to make everyone feel at home.

"We get lots of repeat customers who come back for gifts, home decor," she says. "To me, they're not just customers, they're part of our community."

Deer Camp in Sterling Heights carries coffee, outdoor accessories, and Michigan-related goods. (Deer Camp)Deer Camp 

As its name suggests, Deer Camp Coffee Roasting Company and Outfitters is a place where visitors can find coffee and a whole lot more. The business, which can be found at 35279 Dodge Park Rd in Sterling Heights, is a coffee roasting facilityDeer Camp owner Julie Majewski (Deer Camp) that doubles as a shop with an assortment of different coffees, hunting and outdoor supplies, and Michigan-based products. 

Owner Julie Majewski launched the business as a response to the challenges of the early pandemic. 

"We were a part of a consumer show that was canceled one week before the show. 500 Michigan vendors were left basically without any opportunity to sell during COVID. So I decided to open up a made-in-Michigan-themed coffee shop and store."

A serious coffee lover who loves the outdoors, Majewski combined her interests to create Deer Camp. Her line of coffees and teas make use of low-acidic coffee beans, which help minimize stomach discomfort associated with acid reflux, heartburn, and other digestive issues. 

"They're designed to allow people to stay in the woods," says Majewski. "They are very tasty. We have  an assortment of different flavors themed to hunting camps like Buck Pole and Wall Hanger."

The shop also carries Deer Camp branded apparel and accessories, Majewski's Buck Baits line of hunting supplies, as well as other in-house products like jerky, jams, honey, BBQ sauce, and seasonings. Deer Camp is also a licensed partner of Realtree Coffee, which is sold at the facility as well. As for other brands, visitors can find Michigan products like Germack seeds and nuts, Shurms' MichiGummies, Uncle Henry's Gourmet Meats, Melting Moments ice cream, and honey from Spencer's Apiaries. 

For those who just want to sip a cup of coffee, there's also an in-shop cafe where customers can order drinks from a barista and order other items like venison hot dogs, donuts, or shaved ice. 

"We welcome everybody," says Majewski. "We're a family-oriented friendly place where you can come and just enjoy yourself."

Kitty Deluxe in St. Clair Shores is stocked full of jewelry, mementos, and other items crafted by local artisans. (David Lewinski)Kitty Deluxe

Kitty Deluxe is a hard place to miss in St. Clair Shores, due to its bright pink exterior. Located at 22202 Harper Ave., the boutique carries a wide selection of handmade goods made by local artisans. 

The building where Kitty Deluxe is located has long been a local landmark, due to its vibrant pink color scheme. Owner Cat Massof opened her shop there in 2004, following the closure of another area boutique called Black Sunshine she had run with her sister and mother.

About 80% of the goods at Kitty Deluxe are handmade. Those stopping by can expect to find a mix of jewelry, crystals, apparel, ornaments, journals, candles, and other objects. Among the more interesting and fun finds to be discovered thereOwner Cat Massof makes some of the handmade jewelry found at Cat Deluxe by herself. (David Lewinski) are chakra-themed jewelry, tarot-inspired charms, and pop culture-themed nick-nacks. Kitty Deluxe also features gift cards and bundles and hosts parties and crafting workshops. 

Many of the items at the shop are made by Massof herself, who has a background in fashion and merchandising and specializes in gemstone jewelry for women and girls. 

"A lot of our products are meant to make you feel good or feel something and give a gift that has meaning to it," says Massof. "My best seller is a bracelet that I call an anti-anxiety bracelet filled with  different gemstones to promote tranquility." 

Her family is a big contributor to the store's handmade inventory too. Her sister, Cheryl, is also a jewelry maker and makes ornaments and magnets decorated with polished rocks from Michigan beaches. Her mother, Jen, focuses mainly on sewn items like tote bags, aprons, and headbands. Beyond that, the store also carries items by other Michigan artisan brands like Noomoon, which makes stickers and coasters, and JKM Soy Candles

As holiday shoppers make their rounds this year, Massof urges them to keep local artisans in mind and consider just how essential their gifting decisions are to the continued existence of independent Michigan businesses. 

"We're selling goods that we personally make and love that you're just not going to find anywhere else," she says. "It's really important to shop local, not just on Small Business Saturday, not just for the holidays, but all year round."

This series, made possible with the support of Macomb County, captures the stories of how residents and visitors live, work, and play in the region.

Read more articles by David Sands.