Best Of 2014

Manager Kelly Hadin will instantly become your personal shopper if you need that perfect gift. There should be something for everyone at Shine — the store hosts an eclectic collection of knickknacks and bric-a-brac, from books to art to wallets to posters to candles to lotions to clocks.

When Royal Oak’s 323East Gallery closed its doors in 2012, fans were left wondering where to get their lowbrow art fix next. Enter the Inner State Gallery — the latest brainchild of 323East partners Jesse Cory and Dan Armand — which brings the same brand of hip, edgy art in a new, much larger location near Eastern Market. As an added bonus, the duo operates 1XRUN — an online retailer of art prints — out of the building as well. The gist of 1XRUN (pronounced “one-time run”) is simple: The site offers limited-edition art prints of its favorite artists for a limited time, which run the gamut from pop art to surrealism to street art. Imagine the daily deal website Groupon meets an art gallery and you get the idea. 1XRUN and Inner State Gallery bring art to the masses.

Sure, there are bunch of stores in our town hawking Detroit-themed merch, but the Detroit Mercantile Co. is the place where Detroit tourists need to go. A charming Eastern Market location lends Detroit Mercantile Co. authenticity and old-timey flair, while the wares are hip and elegant. You can get flags, T-shirts, books, prints, mugs and much more emblazoned with Michigan and Detroit. Fans, even tourists, return again and again.

In 19th century England, the top form of adolescent working-class entertainment was the “penny dreadful.” Named for their cheap price and lurid subject matter, they planted the seeds for zines, tabloids and pretty much the rest of alternative publishing. Today, artist Ryan Standfest curates a collection of books made in that same spirit as part of his Detroit-based Rotland Press — examples include an illustrated Appalachian murder ballad, or the decidedly local flair of Detroit-based Stephen Schudlich’s gleeful lampoon of the citizens of Grosse Pointe.

Vivian George is a singer-songwriter who splits her time between Canada and Detroit, and also works behind the scenes on TV and film sets — so she knows a thing or two about the cold. Her fashion line, Toast, specializes in making apparel that keeps the wearer toasty warm — perfect for those who spend a lot of time outside, but still want to look good, like news and sports reporters, for example. She also has a product called bum sweaters — “little hipster scarves for your butt.” Warm your ass up.

Complete with a faded, vintage feel, owner Todd Truman’s line of T-shirts features logos of now-defunct Michigan locales like Lee’s Chop Suey Carry Out in Ypsilanti or Pine Knob Music Theatre (Truman’s hottest item, of course — pretty much anyone north of 40 who grew up going to shows at Pine Knob still refuses to call the venue by any other name). Whether you’re nostalgic for the days of Michigan’s past or an ironic young’un, Superieur Brand T-shirts are a catch.

For the past year, partners Piper Shano Smith, Doreen Sarrach Defauw and Rebecca Snider have been manufacturing these aptly named creepy and cute dolls, which wouldn’t look out of place in a Tim Burton film. Detroit sports-themed and The Walking Dead-inspired dolls have been popular, but the group also makes custom dolls tailored to your specifications.

With more than a decade on the block, this Hamtramck party store sells everything, all to a perpetual soundtrack of blaring classic rock. From a tuner that’s continuously locked on 94.7-FM, it not only echoes throughout the store but through special outdoor speakers out in the parking lot. This idiosyncrasy has earned it such nicknames as “the Rock ’n’ Roll Party Store” and — riffing on the store’s towering shelves — “the Tall and Loud.” Did we say they sell everything? Not just snacks, food, wine, beer and liquor, but clothes, tools and even some hardware. Heck, once, we needed a new battery terminal for our car, which had conked out in their lot, and the dude came out and replaced it for us for a small charge. Now that’s service!i>

SMPLFD is so simplified, it doesn’t even have any vowels. Why stop there though? Why not call the store SPFD? Or SD? Or S? Fair play though, this place does have some neat T’s, including some especially pretty retro-looking Tigers and Red Wings shirts, and a Supremes shirt that looks like it was just pulled out of Berry Gordy’s van. There’s also a punk rock-Japanese-Bart Simpson shirt that’s a real treat. SMPLDC sells wallets and beanie hats, tanks and intriguing “mystery boxes.” Best of all, the prices are reasonable.

Whether you’re looking for a new bike, parts, service, riding gear, clothing or just for a place to hang out, Biker Bob’s is southeast Michigan’s top dealership for new and used Harley motorcycles, parts, clothing and service. Hop on a bike and get ready to look good flying. mt