Catching Fireflies to spread smiles on April Fools’ Day

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 29, 2016


ROCHESTER — While many across the country play practical jokes on friends and loved ones for April Fools’ Day, a local store will be focusing on spreading a little cheer.

April McCrumb — who owns and operates Catching Fireflies, a gift shop with locations in Rochester, Berkley and Ann Arbor — said she was inspired to spread a little silliness this April after encountering a curious group of stones while weeding the courtyard of her Ann Arbor Catching Fireflies location last summer.

“All of a sudden, I pulled some weeds out and I saw a little family of stones with little eyes on them looking up at me, which I found very amusing,” McCrumb said. “It was a pleasant surprise to find them while I was doing an unfortunate task.”

She never found the culprit behind the silly stones, which then inspired her to paint simple eyeballs on some stones and spread them across South Haven during a vacation last summer.

“We went back the next day and all the stones were gone, and then I started thinking more about it … and thought it would be a cool way to raise money for a great organization and encourage people to have a little more fun in their daily drudgeries of life,” McCrumb said.

McCrumb plans to scatter more stones in Rochester, and the other two downtown areas of each of her store locations, on April Fools’ Day.

“We purchased over 70 nice, round, smooth stones and we put eyes on them … and our team is going to go out and distribute them on the morning of April Fools’ Day, just because it is sort of a fun day to launch the project,” she said. “Whether it be on a planter downtown or on the steps of the library, we are going to put them where people will find them to create a whimsical encounter.”

On the back of each silly stone is a website address,, which McCrumb hopes will encourage some of the recipients who ended up spotting the stones to share their stories. The website, McCrumb explained, tells the story about the project, encourages sharing of images or stories on social media, and offers the ability to purchase additional silly stones.

“The idea is, if you find that silly stone that makes you smile, either keep it or pass it on someplace else in your journey. Maybe leave it with a tip at the place you go for lunch, or sneak it into somebody’s cubicle. We just want to encourage a bit of playfulness,” McCrumb said.

Additional silly stones will also be offered at all Catching Fireflies locations for $2, with all profits being donated to the Detroit-area nonprofit Life Builders. McCrumb said Life Builders is a well-established group of caring people who have a heart for the Regent Park community located in northeast Detroit. McCrumb said she also has personal ties to the neighborhood, which is where her adopted daughter’s family lives.

The mission of Life Builders, according to Executive Director Larry Johnson, is to restore dignity and provide hope to the residents of Regent Park in Detroit by empowering youth with life skills that will lead to good decisions and a bright future; reclaiming an entire neighborhood from the effects of disinvestment by providing safe, high-quality, affordable housing; and building a community of shared values, trust and hope for the future.

“It was a great surprise to us to receive the note from April that she had chosen our organization. We are well-aware that there has been increasing interest in the work that we are doing on Detroit’s northeast side, and to find that she has a family member that actually lived here, which sparked her interest in our work, was amazing. We are certainly grateful every time that somebody shares our work, so we are thankful, to say the least,” said Johnson.

Catching Fireflies is located in downtown Rochester at 203 E. University Drive. The store also has locations in Berkley and Ann Arbor. For more information about Catching Fireflies, visit