Why shop at a mall for Christmas? Small businesses are referred to as the ‘backbone’ of the economy, and in Southwest Detroit, there is no shortage of businesses to buy unique, one-of-a-kind gifts. Whether your style is traditional or eccentric, your budget big or small, El Central’s Guide to Christmas Shopping has something for everyone. And when you buy a gift from a small business, you support a community.
In 2018, Nikki Neuzil opened Flamingo Vintage in what used to be Hectors Men’s Wear, a clothing store at 5449 W. Vernor. The Art Deco department store nestled in the heart of Southwest Detroit turned out to be the perfect location to open Flamingo Vintage and display Neuzil’s vast collection of vintage clothing, jewelry, shoes, leather gloves, and more. Flamingo Vintage is where you can buy unique holiday gifts that aren’t from a retail department store or Amazon. In particular, Flamingo Vintage carries an extensive collection of vintage coats that work perfectly as Christmas gifts. Find classic, structured wool pea coats, military jackets, fur shrugs, and formal and sequined “Mrs. Maisel” style 1950s overcoats in excellent condition.
Coats range in price from $30 up to $125.
Heading to a holiday party and want a gift people will be talking about all night? Pair “la famosa”Serafina’s Rum Cake with a copy of “Images of America: Detroit’s Mexicantown,” by Maria Elena Rodriguez, Arcadia Publishing. Both are available at Mexican Town Bakery on Vernor Avenue. The popular rum cake is made by Serafina Hernandez, whose son Omar Hernandez owns the bakery. She uses Bacardi to create a moist, flavorful treat that’s a staple at get-togethers throughout the community. It’s the perfect treat to enjoy while browsing the historic images of Southwest Detroit in this beautiful coffee table book.
The book is $26.99. Serafina’s Rum Cake is $38.45, or $15.99 for a 6-inch mini cake. For larger gatherings, the cake can be custom ordered in quarter or half sheets.
When it comes to craft spirits, nothing says Southwest Detroit like Tequila Cabresto, a perfect gift to bring to holiday parties or to gift to that hard-to-buy-for tequila aficionado. The award-winning brand was started 15 years ago by Southwest Detroit entrepreneurs Antonio Lopez and his father, master agave grower, Silverio Lopez. The Lopez family has been growing agave for four generations, and have created an artisanal tequila that has garnered international recognition. Their awards have even beat out some of the most prestigious, globally recognized tequila brands, including Don Julio, Tres Generaciones and Herradura. Tequila Cabresto is available in stores throughout Southwest Detroit where spirits are sold.
Prices start at around $40 per bottle.
Xochi’s Gift Shop
Walk into Xochi’s Gift shop at 3437 Bagley St, Detroit, and you will walk into a mini version of the kind of folk art markets you find all over Mexico. In 1985, Gloria Rosas opened the shop and began importing hand-woven indigenous blouses, rebozos, pottery, silver jewelry, and Christmas ornaments from her beloved country. Later, her daughter Gloria Baiocco went on shopping trips to Mexico too, bringing an altogether distinct style to the shop. One stand-out item is the handcrafted leather purses and shoulder bags with intricate hand-embossed floral details from the states of Oaxaca, Jalisco, and Guanajuato. Leather handbags are desirable fashion products, and the purses and bags at Xochi’s Gift Shop don’t disappoint.
Purses range in price from $110 to $390.
There are many reasons to give someone a nice pair of boots for the holidays. First, cowboy boots are fashionable and always trendy. Pair cowboy boots with jeans, a dress, or even a suit, and you feel a little bit taller and a little more confident when wearing them—they are a must for any fashionista’s wardrobe. Rodríguez Vaquerita, a cowboy store at 5698 Vernor Hwy, carries traditional western boots, roper boots, boots with exotic skin, and fashion cowboy boots, handcrafted and imported from all over Mexico.
Mama Coo’s Boutique
Who doesn’t love a great statement accessory piece? Mama Coo’s is a vintage, upscale boutique located in Corktown, and owner Lana Rodriguez does a fantastic job at selecting a unique collection of brooch pins, jewelry, handbags, clothing, and more. At a time when it’s so easy to buy presents that are mass-produced, nothing says Feliz Navidad more than a gift that has character to it. Some of the brooches and jewelry items are modern statement pieces, think early 90s, with bright colors and abstract shapes. Yet you’ll also find classic gemstone brooches that add just the right amount of glam to any outfit.
Stop by 1701 Trumbull Thursday-Sunday for some stylish vintage jewelry that is reasonably priced. Most items are priced between $5-$50.
27th Letter Books
A wonderful children’s book is the gift that keeps giving because it opens up wonderful new worlds and instills a lifelong love of reading. 27th Letter Books on Michigan Avenue is a great place to browse and shop for interesting books. They carry a carefully curated collection of titles including a selection of Spanish language books for children and young people by notable authors like Isabel Allende. For shoppers who want to support local businesses this season and
encourage a love of books for the young people in their lives, this is a must-stop.