N3-SWK strives to bring ideas for late season shopping to our readers. Particularly those who have procrastinated in their presenting pursuits. If you know of a place that might provide some unique gifting opportunities let us know and we will check it out.
Bitely? Christmas shopping in Bitely?
Absolutely. The northern Newaygo County burg is abuzz with opportunities such as…such as…
Ok, the Up North Gift Company might be the only shopping spot beyond the gas station and the Bitely Tavern (great burgers) but it’s a good one.
At least that’s what N3 reader Tina Smith indicated when she suggested SWK check it out.
So it was off to Bitely, a most pleasant drive into lake-laden Lilley Township.
And the trip proved well worth it.
Some of the things we like about UNGC:
-The lake signs depicting longitude and latitude.
-The metalworks cleverness of the Tavern Puzzles that brought back a long faded memory.
- The vast amount of wares suitable for stocking stuffing.
-The University of Bitely shirts
-The Wasp Nest (Yup. Real one.)
-How they support local artisans with over 70% of their offerings coming from over 90 makers from throughout the area.
-The welcoming ambiance created by store owners, Pat and Janet Lipzinski.
The Up North Gift Company is a treasure trove of intriguing items befitting its settings. Tucked into a corner of downtown Bitely the shop draws those who have enjoyed the wealth of water the local lakes provide as well as those who have heard from others about its enticing and uber-local vibe
The Lipzinskis took over the store in 2018 but the UNGC was built just before the turn of the century and has endured as a staple for those in search of a unique gift as well as vacationers wishing to bring a memory of the area back home.
Pat and Janet were among that group before moving from their Grand Rapids home to put their personal touch to this appealing emporium of eclectic offerings. Many of the items at the store are made by the owners who do the screen printing for the popular t-shirts, make many of the candles that adorn the shelves and supply the locals with some bodacious baked goods as well.
Beyond the locally created items one finds, many of the other products in the store are Michigan made. Oh, and they have a penny press machine.
For those, as myself, unacquainted with the world of penny press peeps, there is apparently a whole thing out there I was unaware of, including an organization known as TEC (The Elongated Collectors) with a website that includes a monthly report on where new machines have been installed as well as where they have been ‘retired’.
But I digress.
The items that move the most?
“The T-shirts and hats are big sellers,” said Janet. “And anything with the name of their lake on it draws people. They all love their lakes and we have so many in the area.”
“Our jewelry gets a lot of attention,” she added. “ And of course the homemade food items go quickly.”
And I must say, they looked mighty tasty.
The main thing SWK looks for during these shopping excursions is the kind of place one can go for inspiration. The shop to visit when you have run out of ideas and require an influx of imagination.
Up North Gift Co. is such a place.
For more info check out their fb page.
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