Unique gifts and where to get them

Interior of The Spark. Photo courtesy of KCAD.

Looking for local gifts this holiday season? How about something unique that your loved one won’t expect? We have ideas!

Check out The Spark, a new campus shop, at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University offering a wide-ranging, curated selection of handmade goods from West Michigan artists, including many talented KCAD students and alumni. This dynamic retail space is filled to the brim with wares by local artists, designers, and makers.

“We are thrilled to unveil The Spark and welcome the community into this vibrant space designed to uplift and support the work of local artists,” said Spark retail manager Mikayla Portee, a KCAD class of 2022 alum.

Enjoy coffee and snacks in The Spark’s lounge before or after shopping for stylish and unique gifts, art prints, décor, stationery, jewelry, art supplies, etc. The Spark is open to the public Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. & Friday-Saturday: noon – 5 p.m. Located at 17 Fountain St. NW, it’s a great hub for exploring, selling, and buying local art in downtown Grand Rapids.

This local cocktail infusion kit maker that took off on Etsy after making Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 stocking stuffer list opened a brick-and-mortar gift shop in Grandville last year.

The Apple Pie InBooze kit is perfect for creating seasonal-flavored drinks. Courtesy Samantha Ruth Photography

In addition to 25 different infusions that boast low- or no-sugar ingredients created by Evans in a purpose-built kitchen behind the storefront, the gift shop sells handcrafted headbands, hand soaps, honey, dip mixes, candles, uniquely decorated aprons, handbags, hand towels, greeting cards and more.

“I try to get as many local items as possible,” said owner Ashleigh Evans, who started her successful cocktail kit business in 2018. Located at 3090 Pine St. SW, the shop is open Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

St. Steve’s Handcrafted Beverages from Mud Lake Farms
“In a world of ultra-processed foods made in the labs of profit driven corporations, we craft simple natural beverages with ingredients from our own Michigan farm for people who want to enjoy the quality of real food and improve their health naturally,” reads the Hudsonville soda maker’s website. Choose from flavors like Elderflower, Ginger Beer, Chamomile and Pineapple Sage. Sparkling water, cordials, candies, and teas are also on offer. ststeves.com

Escape Artists CBD Cream with Lavender
Skin care meets self-care with this cannabis-infused care product, a unique alternative to THC consumption that can be used to recover from aches and pains.  Escape Artists’ topicals are made from carefully selected ingredients and are available at Michigan dispensaries, starting at $16

Forty Acres House of Cannabis Gummies (21+ only)
From the local cannabis brand brought to us by the same masterminds behind Forty Acres Soul Kitchen and Cognac Bar, these 200 mg gummies available in Peach Tea or Strawberry Lemonade flavors are bound to live up to the brand’s stellar reputation.




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