2023 Insider's Guide to the Pointes & Harper Woods
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Making the holidays...
In this issue of Pointe Magazine, we have a special tribute to Irene Bronner, matriarch of the famous Christmas store in Frankenmuth. Mrs. Bronner died Oct. 16 at the age of 95. She was predeceased by husband, Wally Bronner, in 2008.

During the summer while we had a crew in refinishing our floors, Terry and I spent a few days in Frankenmuth. While there, we took a “walk through Bronner’s.” I took a lot of photos — which is our habit everywhere we go — and a handful of them we have featured in this issue’s photo spread.
Growing up, going to Frankenmuth was an annual tradition in our family. Not only did Mom and Dad and all of us eight kids come along, but so did my maternal grandparents and Uncle Jack, my mom’s baby brother. It was always a great adventure, and we kids enjoyed exploring the subterranean shops at the Bavarian Inn, our preferred restaurant.

I imagine we were not unique in our love for the small Bavarian town up I-75. I’ll bet many Grosse Pointe families shared the same experiences. (Did you know the Birch Run outlets mall is the biggest and oldest in the Midwest?)

At any rate, when I read about Mrs. Bronner’s passing recently, we thought a “walk through Bronner’s,” on page 40, would be a nice way to pay tribute to the Bronner family who have brought so much joy to families worldwide year-round ... and not just at Christmas!

As snowbirds heading to Florida know, the “See Ruby Falls” signs are ubiquitous going down, but coming north, Bronner’s and Frankenmuth are the advertised attractions.

At any rate, we hope you enjoy the photo spread and get a chance to go “Up North” sometime during the fall and holidays.
It seems odd to be writing about the holiday season after coming in from playing golf at Lochmoor with my buddies Mike Smith and Alex McNeill on a Tuesday in late October, but, hey, let’s take the beautiful weather while we can!

As always, be sure to patronize our many loyal businesses and advertisers this holiday season, and be sure to tell them you saw them in Pointe Magazine. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and see you around the Pointe!
— John

Merry & Bright!
My favorite gift to give (and get) is a book. We are fortunate that in this world of online shopping, we have multiple options for in-person book browsing. 

Jennifer Kendall, manager of Coreander’s Children’s Bookshoppe, says that after months of online book shopping during the pandemic, “So many people are attracted to the bookstore environment. They prefer to look inside the books before buying them. (Coreander’s) allows for an experience that’s incredibly unique.”

I imagine the lifelong memories my children are making at Coreander’s. They hide away in a book-shelved nook large enough only for children. They pick up a Winnie the Pooh book and then find the Hundred Acre Forest painted in a sprawling mural above them. 

I have a similar experience down the street at Shaw’s Books. The memory – and smell – of my grandfather’s countless books greets me as I open the door. There is an immediate and rare comfort in it.

As Hank, owner of Shaw’s Books, says, “There’s a smell to books. It’s a good smell. It’s a good old book smell.”
He’s a treasure trove of interesting facts and stories. Pay Hank and his extraordinary store a visit during his 13th annual holiday book sale.

These places immediately envelope you in the magic that is storytelling. Another that will soon do so is Flyleaf, a bookstore nearing completion on The Hill. The community will soon be able to browse the big three: adult titles, children’s titles, and used books in person.

As I interviewed other store owners, whose beautiful products you’ll find on pages 64-67, I heard a similar sentiment – there is nothing like holiday shopping in person. In fact, one of them no longer offers online shopping. 

I’m grateful for a community where bookstores are treasured. And where shop owners visit one another on the sidewalk in The Village. As I was interviewing one owner, two others from neighboring stores popped in to say hello. These are special independent shops we have in Grosse Pointe, with special business owners. Let’s do our part and shop local this holiday season. Happy Holidays!



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