November 30, 2011 - By Olivia Shumaker
Special Writer for The Review
Comic books to candles, corkscrews to cool toys, and even eco-friendly mittens: Lake Orion is the determined shopper's one stop for the holidays.
Those who need a few gift ideas (or gift cards) this time of year should look no further than the shops downtown. Everything, even those coveted Vera Bradley handbags and other unique, one-of-a-kind merchandise, is all within walking distance.
Comic book and collectibles enthusiasts can drop by Prime Time Comics and Cards, where owner Mike Kalohn carries a wide range of Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon Magic and other card sets, while teens can dig into the newly popular Twilight graphic novels. Plus, of course, any interested shopper can peruse the store's large selection of comic books and sports collectibles.
People with runners in their lives have only one stop to make at Hanson's, owned by Mike Morgan. The store offers winter running apparel, as well as Yaktrax. "They are like snow tires for your shoes," said employee Paul Hefferon. "You strap on metal coils for better traction." Almost all employees at Hanson's are training for the Olympic Trials marathon on January 14, meaning they know their stuff when it comes to running.
Down the street, Elements, which is saying goodbye to Lake Orion after the holidays, is having a downtown farewell sale, with all stock 20 percent off. The store carries clothing, home accessories, jewelry and other items that cannot be found at the mall, according to co-owner Shelly Peek. "All inventory must go," she said. "Anyone who wants a Christmas gift should take advantage of our discounts," co-owner Bonnie Blais added.
For that eco-friendly family member or friend, the Painted Lady, owned by Deborah Enright, is selling handmade mittens made from recycled sweaters. Specializing in all-things Michigan, the store also features Detroit Love t-shirts and other gifts made in the state.
Around the corner is Little Monsters, stocking assorted toys for kids of all ages. For toddlers, there is silverware styled after construction machines for boys and fairy gardening tools for girls. Older kids can enjoy anything from Klutz, including kits that shows girls how to make bracelets with beads and safety pins, as well as games like Spot It!, a cool matching and memory game. Co-owners Chris McKenna and Leila Freijy are hosting several holiday events, including taking part in the Downtown Open House on December 10. The more one spends, the bigger the complimentary gift at the toy store.
A few doors down is Tesori Gifts, owned by Char Westman. Her store offers an assortment of trendy and timeless items for women: scarves, jewelry and Vera Bradley bags, which are the store's most popular item. Tesori is hosting a holiday open house on December 3, the day of the Orion lighted parade, and also is providing extended shopping hours over the holidays.
""The fourth quarter is typically our busiest time of year and we're hoping for a successful holiday season," said manager Sallie Keehn.
For the cyclist in your life, drop by Paint Creek Bicycles. The shop features multiple makes and models and typically sells its share of BMX and kids' bicycles during the holidays, as well as winter riding gear and accessories.
For the extravagant biking enthusiast the store has a prized Campagnolo corkscrew on sale for $275. This high tech, bronze corkscrew was designed by the Italian company which invented the bicycle derailleur. "We'll sell it by Christmas," owner Keith Riege said.
Lastly is Ed's Broadway Gift and Costumes, a novelty store which carries thousands of items both in the store and online. According to owner Lloyd Coe, hot this season are collectible metal signs, leg lamps from the Christmas Story movie and local history books. Another popular item at the store this year are magic light-up gloves, which blink at the fingertips. Coe predicts that the gloves will be popular during the lighted parade.
The store also rents and sells Santa and elf costumes over the holiday season. In addition to providing them for families, Coe said his store supplies costumes to America's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit and various local holiday parades in December.
Whether a person is looking for clothes, knick knacks or Lake Orion's most unique toys, persons should head downtown this holiday season.