• Laurie Zokoe Team

10 Grand Rapids Alternatives to Big Box Shops

It’s December, and we’re all-in on holiday shopping. Our city is full of great local shops to help you check off everything on your list. Whether you’re looking for on-trend boutiques, hard-to-find wines, or the newest album on vinyl, Grand Rapids has it all

This holiday season, support your local shop owners, bookstore owners, and entrepreneurs. Lucky for you, there are plenty of great locally-owned shops in the Grand Rapids area. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Brother’s Leather Supply Co.

If you’re a fan of beautiful leather goods, Brother’s Leather Supply Co. in downtown Grand Rapids won’t disappoint. The small company specializes in leather bags like totes, backpacks, and messenger bags you can use for work or play. Other functional items made from fine leather include wallets, belts, passport holders, and even a bag to hold your growler. As if a quality leather product isn’t beautiful enough, you can add a personalized touch with custom embossed lettering and designs.

15 Division Avenue S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Located in Grand Rapids’ West Side neighborhood, Denym offers a highly curated selection of luxury denim and premium clothes for both men and women. Expect designer jeans, one-of-a-kind shirts, and other essentials featuring brands like Hudson, Naked, and Famous and Siwy.

443 Bridge Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Books and Mortar

This holiday season, choose local with your dollars instead of patronizing the big-box retailers at one of Grand Rapids independent bookstores, Books and Mortar. Not only can you find the hottest best-selling novels, but Books and Mortar also sells goods from local brands like Kalamazoo Candle and a wide variety of unique cards and notebooks. For those in the West Side neighborhood, it just opened its second location in partnership with The Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand new Bridge Street location.

955 Cherry Street SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506

442 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids MI 49504


Visit the boldSOCKS store off Division Street and enter a world of crazy colors and funky designs. With boldSOCKS in town, everyone on your list will be asking for socks for Christmas. You’ll find the expected (like stripes and dots) to the unexpected (like volcanos, tacos, and naked bears). Help refresh someone’s wardrobe with these uniquely expressive socks.

boldSOCKS is also known for its commitment to supporting nonprofit organizations both on a national and local scale. It supports several local organizations, including the Michigan Special Olympics, Degage Ministries, and Kids' Food Basket.

17 Division Avenue S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Art of the Table

Since 2003, Art of the Table has been the go-to shop for tasty, artisan food products. It carries everything from funky, flavorful tapenades to wines you’ve never heard of and some of your favorites too! It also specializes in Michigan-made items, with a selection of more than 150 products from the Mitten State. The team personally reviews each item before it’s added to the store. If you’d prefer to let the staff at Art of the Table do your shopping, the store carries an amazing array of themed gift baskets, or you can order a custom-made basket online.

606 Wealthy Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Vertigo Music

A self-proclaimed “anti-superstore,” Vertigo Music is a destination record store drawing vinyl lovers from across the state. The shop features an impressive selection of records, CDs, and cassettes for any level of music lover. Looking for the obscure? Owner Herm Baker knows more about music and vinyl than anyone in town. It’s the perfect place to pick up a gift for your special someone or to build the soundtrack for your next party.

129 Division Avenue S, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Light Gallery + Studio

If you're shopping for the person who has everything, pick up something one-of-a-kind at Light Gallery + Studio. It's the one-stop-shop for unique, handmade goods. What started as a dream for two local students has turned into a haven for Grand Rapids artists. The space serves many purposes, acting as a gallery for art exhibitions, a studio for artisans to make new creations, a classroom for workshops and artist talks, and a local artisans shop. Here, you'll find a wide array of handmade goods, such as pottery, prints, candles, jewelry, and so much more. Be sure to stop in often because it is always carrying new artists' creations.

317 Division Avenue S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Lee & Birch

Since opening in 2007, Lee & Birch now operates three locations: Grand Rapids, Rockford, and Grand Haven. Stop into any of the three (or shop online) and browse its wares, from on-trend luxury items to chic closet staples. The shops feature brands like Gentle Fawn, AG Jeans, and Bella Dahl, along with jewelry and cozy home decor.

759 Wealthy Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Slate Clothing

Slate’s wares are curated for young professional men, featuring dapper brands like Ted Baker, Life After Denim, and Vince. For those looking for an equally chic place to eat after they shop, the shop is nestled around the corner from the New Hotel Mertens. Guys are notoriously hard to shop for, but Slate makes it easy. Stop in for a cool selection of gifts like cheeky greeting cards, Randolph sunglasses, and Corkcicle canteens.

44 Ionia Avenue SW #2, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Aunt Candy’s Toy Company

Aunt Candy’s Toy Company has been delighting kids with games, crafts, and puzzles for nearly 25 years. Step into the bright yellow store and let your inner child free. Its vast assortment of board games, children's books, action figures, and dolls makes this a great one-stop-shop for kids of all ages.

63 Courtland Street, Rockford, MI 49341

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