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The Art of Shopping


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Shopping takes on a whole new meaning in Saugatuck/Douglas. Here you peruse. You don't "shop" here. You savor. You wander along on a sensory journey through a mélange of cultures, life-styles and tastes. In a retail world increasingly dominated by bigness and sameness, the shops of Saugatuck/Douglas are almost audacious in their individuality.

If there is such a thing as an art of shopping, this is where it should be taught. This is a retail community that celebrates quality, variety and, above all, personality. A tour through the shops of Saugatuck/Douglas engages one's senses from every angle; it is nothing like "shopping" anywhere else.

In many respects, downtown Saugatuck and Douglas retain the rural nature of these charming year-round hamlets. In the early morning locals still "sit a spell" outside one of our coffee houses to scan the daily papers and share their wisdom. The hardware store, with its polished hardwood floors, is little changed from generations ago when it served the needs of city dwellers and country folks alike. But take a closer look at the shops of Saugatuck and Douglas and you'll discover a fascinatingly different world with surprises around each corner.

Whether you are shopping for posh clothing, accessories, housewares, fine local wines or gifts, you'll find something for everyone—for every taste—from preppie to funky; glitzy to avant garde; hip to humorous; eclectic to exquisite. Collectors will revel in the area's variety, from difficult-to-find oil lamps, imported fine English antiques and Sticks furniture, to art deco through 70's nostalgia. Shopping Saugatuck's Butler Street can be an exercise in sybaritic indulgence. The visitor will discover an unimaginable variety of goods such as architectural ceramic tiles, sculptural jewelry designs, Pueblo pottery and Zupotec Indian rugs. You will also find the hottest trends in apparel, culinary equipment, current books, homegrown Michigan specialty preserves, imported spices, gourmet baskets and delicacies for the hard-to-please palette. Butler Street will also yield a variety of goods for the more modest budget from Brazilian kites, T-shirts and unusual resort wear to outrageous cards and penny candy for the kids.

One block west on Water Street, shoppers will find an intriguing Dockside Marketplace on the boardwalk overlooking the harbor. Other Water Street shops are in picturesque Victorian houses. Among the various shops one can find such things as CD's by hard-to-find musical artists, dinnerware for entertaining in style, Russian icons, Tuscan pottery and gifts for the cottage and home.

Anyone who has ever panned for gold will understand the element of discovery one feels while exploring Saugatuck's side streets, nooks and crannies. Culver, Griffith, Mason, Hoffman and Main Streets—as well as numerous alleys and byways—unveil a myriad of treasures for the enthusiastic shopper.

Just a half mile east of Saugatuck in the newly gentrified Village of Douglas visitors will find an exceptional collection of shops and artist galleries—worth visiting for fine art, European antiques, custom jewelry and items for both home and garden. Douglas is becoming increasingly popular with professionals and general consumers alike for interior design services and decorative appointments from a variety of diverse shops. While on Center Street look for African and French imports, WWII European military blankets, and hand-blown Irish glass.

Just steps from downtown you'll find an interesting business collaboration: West Michigan's most exclusive kitchen design shop and local gourmet cookie purveyor. A half mile south on Blue Star Highway visit West Michigan's largest Antique Mall and the area's first micro brewery where you can actually brew your own beer.

The Saugatuck/Douglas area also offers several nurseries and complete garden centers where you can search out rare botanicals in serene and peaceful settings. Local banks provide ATMs and a variety of real estate agencies offer their services to rent, buy or sell local cottages and homes

Whether one has come to the area to purchase a million-dollar yacht or to attain perfect metaphysical balance, the shops of Saugatuck/Douglas are ready to provide an unforgettable shopping experience which is at the heart of the community's ebullient personality.


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Photography by Felicia Fairchild - All Rights Reserved