Duffey & Co. Inspired Goods in Grosse Pointe Park is ready for holiday shoppers with an assortment of ornaments, candles, wreaths, home décor and more.

Duffey & Co. Inspired Goods in Grosse Pointe Park is ready for holiday shoppers with an assortment of ornaments, candles, wreaths, home décor and more.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

Shopping small makes a big difference in Grosse Pointes

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 23, 2021

 The family-owned Exway Electric Supply in Harper Woods has a large selection of chandeliers, light fixtures and table lamps, as well as home décor and holiday items.

The family-owned Exway Electric Supply in Harper Woods has a large selection of chandeliers, light fixtures and table lamps, as well as home décor and holiday items.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


GROSSE POINTES — Shopping at the small, locally owned businesses in your neighborhood isn’t just convenient — it also benefits your community.

Cindy Willcock, executive director of Main Street Grosse Pointe, said about 70 cents of every dollar spent at small businesses is reinvested into the local economy — substantially more than the percentage spent at big-box stores. And as anyone who’s ever approached businesses asking for gift certificates or gift basket items for a school auction or charity event knows, it’s the mom and pop businesses that give the most. Willcock said small businesses donate 250% more for community causes than their big-box counterparts.

“You really do support the entire community when you shop local,” Willcock said.

Exway Electric Supply, on the Interstate 94 service drive in Harper Woods, just celebrated its 60th anniversary. The family-owned company, now seeing its third generation in the business,  has a full lighting gallery as well as electrical supplies, gift items and home décor. Lisa Ruggirello is the vice president of the company, and her cousin, Jeffrey Joseph, is the president.

“When you shop local, you can get the product immediately,” Ruggirello said. “When you do support small businesses, you’re supporting families that work and live in your community. In addition, we always try to support our local charities. When you shop at small businesses, that allows us to make donations to local schools and charities in the area. … And you’re getting that one-on-one customer service.”

From free gift-wrapping to personalized attention and advice, small businesses offer a lot of perks that consumers won’t find at big, corporate-owned national chains.

“They take great pride in their products, and they’re more knowledgeable about the products they carry,” Willcock said. “And the level of service you get at a small business is unparalleled.”

And small businesses know the communities they serve. Exway, for example, offers many products that work in older homes, and they’ll try to get parts for a product they carry if something breaks later. Unlike many big-box stores, Ruggirello said, she and her co-workers are knowledgeable about their products, and they stay up to date on the newest trends. She said most of the staff has been with the store for more than 25 years.

“When you’ve been in business as long as we’ve been in business, you have to know the product,” Ruggirello said.

The Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce is doing what it can to tout the products and services of its members, most of whom live as well as work in the area.

“Our local small businesses love what they do and they play an important role in supporting our community and keeping the economy alive,” GPCC Executive Director Jennifer Palms Boettcher said in an email interview. “Showing our support for our local businesses will not only help them weather this crisis, but it also helps our community.”

This month, the GPCC is rolling out a new offering to make it easier for people to patronize local businesses.

“In conjunction with AMEX Small Business Saturday, the Chamber will be promoting our new Grosse Pointe Marketplace, which is an online marketplace that hosts a wide variety of businesses in the Pointes where people can shop under one umbrella without leaving the house/office,” Palms Boettcher said. “It’s a one-stop-shop! Grosse Pointe Marketplace is not just for the holidays — this will be an online shopping tool available year ’round. If you’re not sure what to get a loved one for a gift, consider purchasing Chamber Change gift cards!”

Anne Duffey-Leo, who owns Duffey & Co. Inspired Goods in Grosse Pointe Park, said Small Business Saturday is important because Black Friday and the big-box stores tend to get most of the attention and dollars.

Like so many other small business owners, Duffey-Leo lives in the community, and her business supports community endeavors, whether it’s donating items for a fundraiser or displaying flyers for a school event. She said she’s grateful to the community for its support during the pandemic, and to Park officials.

“The city has been great, helping us along and creating more incentives for people to shop,” Duffey-Leo said.

Her store on Kercheval Avenue in The Park business district has a wide range of gifts for all ages, from cuddly toys and cozy baby blankets to scented soy candles to ornaments and home décor. Duffey-Leo said they’ll continue to add new merchandise throughout the season as items arrive, but if you see something you like, buy it right away, because some items are in limited supply.

Duffey-Leo said “there’s so many advantages” to shopping at small businesses, especially for gifts.

“You’re going to find so many more unique gifts that are thought-out for the person you’re giving them to,” Duffey-Leo said.

Besides knowing their products, Duffey-Leo and her co-workers can help shoppers select gifts for customers. They’re eager to assist patrons so they can find that perfect treasure for a friend, colleague or loved one.

Consumers might think small businesses mean higher price tags, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Ruggirello said their prices have gone up because of supply chain issues, but the same can be said for big-box stores. And shoppers will be pleasantly surprised to find quality goods they won’t find anywhere else that also won’t break the bank, like Old World Christmas ornaments.

“They’re very nice ornaments without a crazy price tag,” Ruggirello said. “They are affordable, nicely made and nicely detailed.”

Many small businesses will be offering specials and promotions on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 27. For example, Duffey & Co. is offering 10% off a total bill that day.

In The Village in Grosse Pointe City, a Shop Small Welcome Station will be open at the corner of Kercheval and St. Clair avenues from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 27 with a list of participating businesses and specials, along with a #shopsmall canvas tote, while supplies last. Village parking is free that day. To see a full list of participating Village businesses and their specials, visit The Village’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/events/2967543610165802.

Community leaders hope Small Business Saturday inspires residents to shop local year ’round, whether it’s patronizing a favorite restaurant or nail salon, or picking up a sweater or throw pillow from a neighborhood store.

“Small Business Saturday is basically an American Express promotion,” Palms Boettcher said. “I think we should celebrate Small Business Saturday every day of the week! Support our local businesses — shop locally! It creates jobs, stimulates the economy, strengthens our community spirit and allows unique local culture to flourish.”