Downtown TC store offers eclectic gifts
MOST ECLECTIC GIFT SHOP
in Grand Traverse County
It’s the moment when your palms begin to sweat, your eyes become crossed and every clock is screaming at you. You glance at the greeting card isle at the grocery store and think/hope, a card will suffice. Then, a cheap, stuffed animal at the gas station catches your eye.
It’s zero hour and you’re running out of time to buy a gift.
That’s when you discover Nifty Things – the store with barbecue utensils for dad, jewelry for mom, a leash for Sprinkles. Heck, you could buy a Michigan stone puzzle for yourself!
Located on Front Street in downtown Traverse City, Nifty Things was voted “Most Eclectic Gift Shop” in Grand Traverse County by Express readers.
“We wanted stuff others didn’t have,” explains Doug Hickman, who owns the store along with his wife, Martee. “The concept was created before the name.”
The Hickmans opened the first Nifty Things store in Alden in spring 2006, followed by a second location in Elk Rapids that October. By 2008, Nifty Things opened in downtown Traverse City, at first as a hot spot for out-of-towners, but the eclectic eventually caught on with locals.
“The first year or so a big percentage of our sales were to tourists,” said Hickman. “It took a while for the locals to find us, but once they did it grew exponentially.”
What everyone discovered was a store that had just about everything. From tote bags and magnets to wine stoppers and sandal straps, Nifty Things could be described as an organized mess of fun.
“People will come in one day and buy something, then come in the following day and say, ‘Huh, you must have just gotten that in today.’ And I’ll say, ‘No, you just didn’t notice it yesterday,” laughed Hickman.
While products are grouped and shelved by theme (example, pet products and collegiate products), it does take a bit of browsing to take in everything.
Hickman thanks the store’s general manager, Kathy Trilla, for keeping on top of not only the diversity of the items, but the amount.
“We really couldn’t do it without her,” he said. “She is a saint when it comes to finding products.”
The number of customers that enter Nifty Things is also high, said Hickman.
“We’re told we’re the most shopped at store in downtown. It’s got to be true because the fire marshal is always yelling at us because there are too many people in our store at times,” he laughed.
It’s likely this is attributed to the fact there is so much to discover in the store – and taking one’s time is the only way to take it all in. So, whether you’re looking for a gag gift for dad or a handpainted martini glass for mom, chances are you’ll find it at Nifty Things.
Nifty Things is located at 143 E.
Front St in downtown Traverse City. Look for them on Facebook or visit niftythingsonline.com.