In downtown Mackinac Island, Nicole Doud owns three stores. Little Luxuries is a one-stop gift shop that tries to bring a touch of whimsy into your life. Canvas & Paddle is a cozy “Up North” shop with cabin decor. And the Artists Market of Mackinac Island features the works of more than 100 artisan makers from around the country.
Doud strives to give each of her three stores its own distinctive personality and feel. As a result, when you walk into one of them you don’t recognize that it has the same owner as the other two.
But in many ways, all three of Doud’s shops and many others in downtown Mackinac Island have a lot in common.
“They’re all family owned and a lot of them have been passed down or they’ve been doing it forever,” said Doud, whose husband’s family has been on Mackinac Island for generations. “You’re finding those unique gifts that you can’t find anywhere else.”
People increasingly are doing their shopping online, and regional shopping malls remain popular places to buy things, too. Sometimes those are fine ways to make transactions. But Mackinac Island offers a shopping experience that you just can’t get anywhere else.
When you visit Mackinac Island, here are some things you will find browsing the shops in town:
Quality products that are one of a kind – There’s only one Canvas & Paddle on the planet. And there are no Little Luxuries franchises in Mackinaw City or Traverse City or any other city in the world. On Mackinac Island you’ll find independent shops with charming character and unique, high-quality items that just aren’t available in other places.
Extraordinary restaurants – You won’t find a collection of fast-food chains in downtown Mackinac Island like you do in many shopping malls. Instead, the island is home to iconic, waterfront eateries with tasty, chef-prepared fare and priceless views. How’s that for a food court?!?
History – People have been doing business on Mackinac Island since the 1600s, when it was the center of the fur trade industry. Many of the buildings date back more than 100 years. Doud’s Market, for example, is the oldest grocery store in America, founded in 1884.
World-famous fudge – Most malls have places to pick up a snack while you shop, whether it’s a pretzel stand or kiosk with candied almonds. But none of those places have authentic world-famous Mackinac Island fudge. There’s nothing like the fudge on Mackinac Island.
Fall discounts – Not only is the weather on Mackinac Island beautiful in the fall, but shops begin discounting inventory. Great deals start to emerge around the middle of September, with really big discounts coming in October when Mackinac Island hosts the annual Women’s Wellness Weekend and Halloween festivities. It’s a really good time to do some Christmas shopping. A few stores even reopen between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Whatever time of year you visit Mackinac Island, you’re going to get the family-owned, small-town, shop-local experience. And you won’t get shipping snafus or surprises when your online order arrives in a different color or size than you expected.
Come see for yourself what Mackinac Island has to offer!