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This Holiday Season, Shop Small Businesses

This year has brought us all curveballs, but one thing is for sure—we need each other as a community! As this crazy year wraps up and we head into the holiday season, one way to help the community is by supporting businesses that are locally run by real people. Here are three superb stores to shop at this holiday season, located right here in greater Grand Rapids. 

Schuler Books 

Located on 28th street, this book store has three locations, all owned by the same owners. 

Q: What do you sell?

 “Books! We are a full service book store that sells new and used books in all categories and genres. We also sell a lot of gifts including toys, games, puzzles, bath and body, local items, and much more. We also have a full service café in store (currently closed due to Covid-19).”

Q: How did you start?

 “Our owners met in a bookstore while attending college at Michigan University. They dreamed of starting their own one day, and they did! At one time they had seven stores. Today they have three: Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, and Okemos and Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor.”

Q: How can the community help you?

“While we look like a large chain store because of our size and depth of merchandise, we are truly a mom and pop company. It’s difficult to make a lot of money in books because publishers control the price. It’s printed right there on the book! We offer exceptional customer service, [a curbside pickup service], a gathering place for the community (in non-pandemic times), and present a full calendar of events, both author/book based and experiential, at low or no cost. You can’t get that online! The best way to support local businesses is to do all your shopping there. It’s that simple! Please also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and sign up for our e-newsletter at schulerbooks.com to keep up with all we have going on.”

The Natural Order 

This small store is tucked away on Plainfield, but inside is filled with gems. 

Q: What do you sell? 

“We sell a variety of things such as houseplants, vintage clothing, and a large selection of curated one-of-a-kind household goods as well as some furniture, rugs and other decorative accouterments.”

Q: How did you start?

“I always wanted to have a store since I just love buying and collecting things, so one day I just decided to go for it. So now, instead of just acquiring fun and interesting things from my travels and other buying excursions, I can pass them on to others. I would like to see the store expand in selection and quality, and have a few trips lined up as soon as this pesky pandemic has run its course.”

Q: How can the community help you? 

“The challenges of owning a local business are pretty much the same as the challenges of anything else: doing something well that resonates with other people. Matching a vision to what customers are willing to pay for is the key to it all. So far it has been going quite well, but there is always room for improvement! In terms of support, word of mouth is everything!” 

Commune

This local boutique is located in Easttown on 1409 Robinson Rd SE

Q: What do you sell? 

 “Commune is a shop that feels like summer all year round. West Coast lifestyle vibes here in west Michigan. We sell home goods and apothecary items all the way from candles to dried florals to perfume.”

Q: How did you start?

“We wanted to create a store for our community that offers items that enrich their lives in practical and aesthetic ways. We curate items that we hope will bring people joy! We envision Commune continuing to grow bigger and better, evolving into carrying larger items such as furniture and vintage pieces down the road.”

Q: How can the community help you?

“One of our biggest challenges is simply wanting to do it all but not having the time. We’re constantly adapting to our communities’ needs, even more so during this unprecedented time. We’d love to expand into an online store enabling people to shop from home but expansion means more staff which we aren’t ready to take on right now. 

The very best way for the community to support us is to keep putting their money where their heart is by shopping small and local. And also of course by telling others about us. Social media is our number one marketing tool.”

This year has hit us all in a dynamic, challenging way. Let’s do our part and support local people in our communities. Shop small!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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