1548 Trumbull St., Detroit; dittoditto.org
It's refreshing to see a spurt of new bookstores prop up around town these days. Between Pages on Livernois and DittoDitto, we're truly pleased. With DittoDitto, though, the experience of scooping a book is akin to browsing the shelves of your buddy's apartment. It's quaint, and kickass. The kind folks here keep a cache of literary classics, art books, used, and new. It regularly hosts literary events and has helped transform the corner of Trumbull and Bagley, which includes neighboring Hello Records, into a bustling sect of Corktown.
2644 Harrison St., Detroit; 313-962-4247; nancywhiskeydetroit.com
Don't be dettered by the adjoining neighborhood, trust us. Once you're inside this neighborhood watering hole, you'll feel at ease, enjoined by a chattering contingent of some of the best talkers in town. And, even better, if you haven't visited Nancy Whiskey yet, this'll make your inaugural experience even better. For tradition's sake, all newcomers get a free shot of Tullamore Dew. Those good vibes you may have seen in the Long John Silver commercial that featured Nancy Whiskey? It's legit, and you'll know why when you visit.
4665 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 248-310-3045
Even though most paint stores mix household paints with computerized precision these days, there are still dozens of mistints created at any store every month. Enter this beguiling, friendly corner shop, where you know exactly the color you're getting, because a sample has been smeared onto the can itself. Prices can be as low as one-seventh of the regular price, so it's always best to drop by here first, especially for larger jobs.
31516 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-296-2360; michigunandtackle.com
There's something about mixing the seriousness of firearms with a cutesy pun that we find irresistibly charming, and nobody in metro Detroit does it as well as the family-owned Michi-Gun. Founded by husband and wife Robert and Shirley Barch in 1975 (it was Shirley, in fact, who came up with the name), Michi-Gun offers the sort of customer service that you can only get at a mom and pop shop. It's no surprise, then, that this St. Clair Shores store draws customers from all across Michigan.
11303 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-892-3685
Known colloquially as the "The Rock 'n' Roll Liquor Store" or "The Loud 'n' Tall" — due to the management's propensity for blaring classic rock — this store goes above and beyond the region's average party stores by stocking just about any item that someone could possibly think to buy on a booze run. It's certainly the only party store in the region where you can buy a six-pack of craft beer, a penis-shaped bottle of Armenian brandy, a hookah, flavored tobacco, hardware for a quick home repair, kitchenware, dinner, women's underwear, and a new toy for your kid — all under one roof.
1400 Gratiot Ave., Detroit; 313-566-0092
Need to get your man to dump his woman on the side? Hoping to come into a lot of money? Need to keep the law off your back? Discount Candle is Eastern Market's special candle shop where you can get special votives made to chase away a variety of problems. But, don't think this is all hoodoo and voodoo. Discount Candle's wares are made with firm Catholic beliefs and you can even pay a little extra to have a prayer whispered over the wax. Oh, and they'll throw some glitter in there for you too.
2472 Riopelle, Detroit; 313-285-8371; 3dogs1cat.com
Does your pooch need a punch of Detroit style? Hit up Eastern Market's 3 Dogs 1 Cat. The locally owned boutique carries Detroit Manufacturing collars and leashes, plus plenty of healthy or organic pet care items. Every so often they host in-store adoption events, so if you're really looking to get a dog that's Detroit through and through, this is the place to do it.
3437 Bagley St., Detroit; 313-841-6410; xochis.net
Though this little market shares a parking lot with Mexicantown restaurant Xochimilco's, the two places have different owners and different purposes. Xochi's is a boutique of sorts that carries a variety of different Mexican wares. Ever wonder where one would purchase chili pepper-shaped string lights? Xochi's, of course. They also carry hand-painted nativity sets during Christmastime, but their stock of authentic Katrina dolls might be their most impressive attribute. You'll find the Day of the Dead mascot in various sizes and style of dress — perfect for any ofrenda, big or small.
Have you ever dreamed of having a stained glass nightlight or Christmas ornament that looks just like you? Well, if you haven't it's only because you don't know what you're missing. Carey Gustafson carefully handcrafts every piece that's sold under the name Glass Action. Send her a photo of yourself (or you and your S.O. or you and your best friend, etc.) and she'll work her magic to create a night-light that you and your guests won't ever forget.
2840 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-552-6323; glowfishstudios.com
Wyandotte's Glow Fish Studios is tons of fun. They sell quirky books, Tokyo Milk candles, kendama games, sassy cards, Ann Taintor goods, costume jewelry, and more. They're also purveyors of local art from artists like Cheryl Oz and Jessica Hilbert. And you can do more than just appreciate (and buy) art at Glow Fish, you can also learn to make your own. The shop hosts knitting classes, which have seen amazing success since they started last winter.