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October 16, 2013

Holiday Mart customers can shop the ‘D’ this year

Annual fundraiser brings local, national vendors to War Memorial

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Shoppers at last year’s Patron Preview Cocktail Party for Grosse Pointe Holiday Mart browse the many vendors on hand. This year, the preview party is Oct. 17, followed by the regular shopping days Oct. 18-19.

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Early bird holiday shoppers have a lot more reasons to check out Grosse Pointe Holiday Mart this year.

About two-thirds of the 30 local and national vendors who’ll be selling their unique wares are new this year, said Sonya Ackman, the shops chair for this year’s event. Typically, she said only about 10 percent of the vendors are new. A fundraiser for the cancer prevention and prenatal care programs of Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, the 55th annual Holiday Mart will take place from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 18-19 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. Admission is $5 per person at the door.

Holiday Mart kicks off with a Patron Preview Party from 5:30-9 p.m. Oct. 17 at the War Memorial. Besides giving attendees a chance to purchase items early, they’ll also be able to enjoy food and beverages from restaurants such as Alley Wine, Astro Coffee, Farms Fresh Market, Green Dot Stables, The Hill Seafood and Chophouse, Slows Bar BQ and Supino Pizzeria. Tickets for the party are $75 per person and can be purchased at www.holidaymart grossepointe.com.

Shoppers will find home décor, gourmet goodies, accessories, jewelry and clothing for men, women and children. While previous Holiday Marts focused on far-flung vendors, this year, organizers have specifically selected several from Detroit’s burgeoning new small business community, including Beau Bien Fine Foods, sister stores City Bird and Nest, fellow sister stores Hugh and Nora, Detroit GT and Detroit Denim.

Ackman said despite the buzz surrounding the many Detroit startups, plenty of shoppers still don’t realize these businesses exist. A number of the stores are clustered in the Midtown area of the city, such as Nest and City Bird.

“We wanted to highlight the cool things that are going on and celebrate what they’re doing,” Ackman said. Stores like Nest and City Bird offer gift and home items, while Nora has “beautiful, beautiful housewares,” and Hugh specializes in gifts for men like small magnifying glasses for fly fishing, brass shoehorns, shaving kits and more, she said.

“It’s just a cool mix of merchandise,” Ackman said.

And while some of the local shops have their own storefronts, others, such as Detroit Denim, are available exclusively — or almost exclusively — online. Ackman said Detroit Denim produces jeans locally for men, purchasing the fabric from the last remaining denim manufacturer in the United States.

“His jeans are all handmade in Detroit,” she said. “They’re all hand-tooled. They are truly like a work of art.”

Detroit Denim — which has sold items at Eastern Market, but is otherwise not available from a local store — offers bags and sweatshirts, as well, Ackman said.

Beau Bien Fine Foods’ product line includes jams and jellies created from locally grown fruits, she said.

The Detroit-based retailers will be clustered “like a mini boutique,” Ackman said.

And, even though his business is in located in Troy, acclaimed Grosse Pointe Shores designer Dominic Pangborn’s Pangborn Design Collection will also be represented, giving shoppers another option to support a local merchant.

“Holiday Mart may be more than half a century old, but we still have some new tricks up our sleeve, including a robust roster of new vendors that will offer something really fresh for our longtime shoppers,” said Grosse Pointe Holiday Mart Chair Helen McKnight in a press release. “We also felt it was very important, during this transitional time in Detroit’s history, to provide a showcase for the outstanding and unique Detroit retailers who are fuelling the rebirth of our great city. It’s going to be another great Mart.”

Those in the market for special holiday gifts to present to party hosts, friends or family will find holiday décor from vendors like City Bird — which has “really cool Christmas ornaments” featuring the Detroit skyline — and NEST home, garden & gifts out of Grand Rapids, Ackman said.

“They’re coming back with more of their holiday décor — a lot of glitz,” she said of NEST.

And along with NEST, there are some other returning Holiday Mart favorites, like Botanical Elegance, Bay Head Bags, Karen Egren Jewelry, El-Mar Furs and It’s a Treasure.

“We still have a lot of out-of-town vendors to appeal to our traditional shopper,” Ackman said. “We still try to meet their needs.”

While Holiday Mart is a fun community event, organizers note that it also supports a cause. Although many people who use Planned Parenthood’s clinics have insurance, “a good portion” of the patients have no insurance or ability to pay for medical services such as breast exams and Pap smears, said Desiree Cooper, director of community and media relations for Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan. That’s why fundraisers like this are “obviously critical to our ability to provide services to the people who need (them) most,” she said.

Even with the Affordable Care Act, she said patients who might have insurance for the first time now might have high deductibles to meet first.

“Actually, I think our need is going to grow,” Cooper said. “We’re expecting more patients” as the number of people with heath insurance rises.

“We still will have that gap that needs to be addressed,” she continued.

Holiday Mart has provided funds in recent years for Planned Parenthood’s cancer prevention efforts, but this year, funds raised will also aid a prenatal care program at Planned Parenthood’s Midtown clinic. That program, which will be operated in conjunction with the Detroit Medical Center, likely will begin in January in Detroit, Cooper said. She said Planned Parenthood already offers this program at its clinic in Ann Arbor.

“Our goal is to make the Detroit (clinic) a one-stop reproductive (center) where they can come for a range of services,” Cooper said.

Holiday Mart organizers have long stressed that the funds they raise don’t support abortions, and Cooper said abortions constitute about 3 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides. Besides medical services, Planned Parenthood offers counseling, education and outreach programs, she said.

“It’s all about prevention and good sexual health,” Cooper said. “We’re out there for everyone, with compassionate, quality care.”

Since its inception, Holiday Mart has raised more than $1 million for Planned Parenthood locally, and Cooper said they’re grateful for the support. Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan covers 31 counties with 83 percent of the state’s population, from Detroit to Benton Harbor, she said. Last year, the local division and Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan performed almost 1,000 procedures for precancerous cells of the cervix statewide, as well as about 13,500 breast exams statewide, Cooper said. Among the 17 Planned Parenthood facilities in this half of the state are clinics in Ferndale, Warren and Livonia, she said.

Once again, Holiday Mart shoppers can purchase food and beverages from the Holiday Mart Café, which will be open during shopping hours on Friday and Saturday.

The War Memorial is located at 32 Lake Shore in Grosse Pointe Farms. For more information, visit www.holidaymartgrossepointe.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.