Great Lakes Gift Guide - Shopping Local for Valentine's Day

Great Lakes Valentine Gift Guide

Flowers are great, don't get me wrong, but there's a reason the saying "it's the thought that counts" is a cliche phrase. Check out some of our favorite places to think outside the bouquet and shop for thoughtful and unique gifts from around the Great Lakes! 


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BonBonBon (6 Michigan Locations)

Founded in the back of a coney island in 2014, Bon Bon Bon is a cult favorite of sweet lovers in the Detroit area. Each Bon is a delicious treat consisting of a chocolate shell and handmade fillings, ranging from classics you know, like a dark chocolate shelled filled with ganache, to the crazy like one filled with candied strawberries, balsamic reduction, and olive oil! 

Catching Fireflies (3 Michigan Locations)

What started out as April selling paper goods at craft shows in 1999 has lead to 3 Michigan locations of Catching Fireflies. Named after an art piece from her favorite artist, April and her husband Steve have opened stores in Rochester, Berkley, and Ann Arbor. This is the quintessential gift boutique, everything from classic items like cards and candles to quirky offerings from local artisans that you might not be able to find anywhere else!

Shinola (Multiple Locations)

A brand that most of us in the Great Lakes region need no introduction to, Shinola has a rich and storied history that leads to the company being revamped in 2011 to hand make watches in Detroit. It has grown into the upscale brand offering much more than just watches today. If you're looking for something VERY special this Valentine's Day, you can't go wrong with their extensive offerings of men's and women's watches, jewelry, and leather goods. 

City Bird - Detroit

City Bird founders, Andy and Emily Linn, literally wrote the book on cool things to do and see around Detroit. The flagship store, opening in 2009, was the only retail store on the now bustling Canfield and Cass shopping district. City Bird blends thier own line of Michigan centric designs and products with some of the best makers and artist the Great Lakes has to offer. This makes it a perfect one stop spot for you Valentine's Day gifting needs. Also, make sure to pop into their homegoods store, NEST, while you're there as well!


Rock Paper ScissorsAnn Arbor 

If you're looking for sassy meets classy, then the woman owned Rock Paper Scissors is your go to spot in Ann Arbor. A staple in the community since 2012, their products offerings are fun, flirty, and unique. You'll find everything from pop culture references, to local pride surrounding the University of Michigan, and last but not least lots of stuff for that #BossBabe in your life. 


October Moon - Lansing

Located in Lansing's Historic Old Town, October Moon is a charming and whimsical boutique with a highly curated selection of swoon inducing gifts. Sip tea while you browse for Valentine essentials like candles, luxury soaps, lotions, potions, and tonics!


Rail and Anchor - Royal Oak

A car in the store?! Yup, Rail and Anchor take the shopping experience up a notch by having one of the most uniquely merchandised shops we've seen. Browse handmade jewelry, home bar essentials, funky artwork, unique games, and incense all in one place. This place feels like a treasure hunt as it is packed with a little bit of everything just waiting to be discovered. 


Blackbird by Dear Prudence - Northville

Blackbird specializes in gifts for every generation at every price range. They are constantly bringing in new items and new makers, practically every week! I always make a point to pop in here when I am in the area, since there's always something new and exciting to find. 


American Spoon (5 Michigan Locations)

Founded in the 1980's, you can tell that American Spoon has been around the block when it comes to creating authentic flavors using real food focusing on showcasing richness of Northern Michigan's agriculture. What started as just a kitchen, a copper kettle, and a big ol wooden spoon, American Spoon has flourished, never compromising on quality to bring us some of the best jams, preserves, and condiments anyone could ask for. Visit them to build your own curated selection for your food obsessed lover, or chose from one of their gift boxes if the options are overwhelming! 


Leon & Lulu - Clawson

Breathing new life into an old roller rink, this award winning store is worth a detour to visit. Besides being absolutely massive compared to other boutique style shops, make sure to block out ample time to get lost in the cavernous yet whimsical space. They have everything to offer, from staples like stationery, bath and body gifts, to homewares, decor and even furniture! 


Rebel - Grand Rapids

This Wealthy street gem is packed with everything you need for the perfect Valentine's Day gift. Handmade cards, Michigan artwork, snarky notepads, chic cocktail glasses, kitschy jewelry, and so much more. 


Glow Fish Studios - Wyandotte 

Calling Glow Fish "eclectic" doesn't do it justice. This store begs you to give into your childhood emotions and put together a Valentine's Day gift they'll always remember. They source a wide range of items, a magical and fantastical selection of stationery, crystals and gems, novelties, art, and jewelry. 


The Curator - Grayling 

Who knew blood, sweat, and tears could be this aesthetic! Penny and Erich are basically Michigan's version of Chip and Joanna Gaines, renovating a dilapidated building into the stunning retail location it is today. Each item they offer seems like it is staged for the next fancy magazine shoot and the open concept means that everything catches you eye.  



Grandpa Shorter’s - Petoskey

Petoskey’s original souvenir store, since 1946. Grandpa Shorter’s Gifts is a destination for unique gifts, souvenirs, and Petoskey Stones in the heart of the historic Gaslight District, on the corner of Lake & Petoskey Street, in downtown Petoskey, Michigan. A family-owned and operated store for over 70 years, voted Northern Michigan’s favorite gift store.




Cuyahoga Collective - Lakewood

"Come into our living room" is the concept of the Cuyahoga Collective. Seamlessly sift through items designed in house, as well as other select Ohio based makers. They update seasonally and a lot of items sell out fast - so hurry in and support this gem a stones throw from Lake Erie!


Salty Not Sweet - Lakewood

This West Cleveland artist's enclave is a must stop spot in the area. Salty Not Sweet's mission is literally "supporting as many artist and makers as we can cram in here". Every piece in here is unique and has a different story to tell. Don't expect the usual cookie cutter type gifts though. Get your partner something special like a meme worthy prayer candle, hand made plush toys, or a snarky mug that matches their "salty not sweet" attitude. 

Funktiniland - Cleveland

Located in City Goods Hangers (Hanger 3 to be exact), Funktiniland is just as cool and fabulous as it sounds. They offer gifts for every budget, yes even you you big spender. Blending local makers and artists with highly curated home goods, antiques, and other adorable trinkets, It's the type of shop you have to visit to truly understand what they're all about. Run by a mother daughter duo, you can't go wrong here since literally everything is currated to live up to the Funktiniland name. 





Foursided (4 Illinois Locations)

Framing is an often overlooked, and dare I say it, forgotten trade. Well what if you owned the hippest framing shop in Chicago? That's what foursided brings to the table, hip, chic, modern, and a touch edgy. With 4 different locations offering everything from framing, to vintage goods, to showcasing local artists, all the while having an amazing selection of paper goods and locally inspired gifts, Foursided is a great boutique for gifting whether or not you need something special framed. They are probably THE BEST option in Chicago if you need a sentimental piece framed this Valentine's Day. 


The Fig Tree - Chicago 

We don't know how they do it, but The Fig Tree seems to pack all the world's cutests gifts and all the gasp inspiring innuendo laden items all in one place.  Once you're there you can stock up on flirty candles, cheeky Valentine's Day cards, comfy socks, puzzling hair clips, and so much more. If you lover says things like "cake is a breakfast food", then The Fig Tree will make you a gifting guru!


Virtu - Chicago

Celebrating 24 years of supporting local and indie makers in heart of Bucktown, Virtu is more than a neighborhood gift shop. Is the shop filled with all the normal gift type items, yes. However it's the care and dedication the staff brings to the table that make Virtu special. You don't last over 2 decades in a big city if you're not doing everything right, and Virtu does it all. You could spend a lot or a little here and the staff truly understands that your gift is the most important thing to you, and they magically treat everyone as if your gift is the most important thing to them as well. This level of heartfelt service is rare these days. 





MOD GEN - Milwaukee 

Originally founded as a gardening design boutique, MOD GEN leaned into their passion for all things creative in 2014, with a move to Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward in 2016 to open their flagship "MODern GENeral Store". They've never given up their plant people roots and routinely have more than 1,000 houseplants at any given time! They've curated a fantastic selection of home goods, novelties, cookbooks, and so much more. We can't recommended their potting service and Planting Bar enough, and even if you're not gifting a gorgeous house plant this year, you'll be sure to find enough other cute stuff to make your Valentine's Day one for the memory books. 


Swoon - Milwaukee

One step into Swoon and you'll realize how it made our list. It's the type of place that you can't help but find the perfect gift and also leave with a few things just for yourself as well. They also have one of the best selections of local Milwaukee brands and makers, everything from jewelry, to pottery, to culinary items, and more. 


Broadway Paper - Milwaukee

Broadway Paper is technically a paper goods store, but in reality it's a gifters paradise. Yes, they have thousands of cute cards and adorable stationery items, but on top of the amazing mix of gift items they curate, they also have the most adorable wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows to go along with it. If you're looking to really impress this year, let the experts gift wrap your items for you and give them a gift for Valentines Day that looks like it was perfected by the props department of a rom-com. 

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