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Uptown, From the Experts, Chapter Two: Checkin’ Out East Hills

By Dana Kroll, Uptown Marketing and Communications Specialist

It’s time for chapter two of our blog series, ‘Uptown, From the Experts’. In each article of the series, we’ll ask a business owner from one of our four business districts – Eastown, East Hills, Wealthy Street, and East Fulton – to take a turn blogging about the district to which their business belongs, in any topic of their choosing. Perhaps they’ll share a fun story or experience had there. Maybe a bit of their district’s interesting history, or perhaps their personal favorite places, things, or people that can be found in their district. We’ve left the choice-of-topic part up to them because, as you’ll come to see, our business owners are very special, with their own unique voices, ideas, and perspectives. After all, they have chosen to do business in the coolest spot this city has to offer – here in Uptown! Today, Mark Tobin, co-owner of Hopscotch Children’s Store, gives us lots of insights into the East Hills district, beloved by locals and visitors alike.

Greeting from East Hills! You can find our district at the corners of Lake Dr., Diamond Ave. and Cherry St, affectionately know as the Center of the Universe. We’re full of a broad, diverse range of businesses, restaurants, services, boutiques and more. Let’s take a tour around…come along!

We’ll start at the historic Blackport Building, on Diamond near Lake… a cool old building, chock full of some great small businesses. Did you know that the Blackport was once a meat packing plant? It’s true! But we digress. At Blackport you’ll find Nestology, a truly beautiful space, filled with one-of-a-kind art, jewelry, home decor and so much more. Sharing the same space is Clothing Matters, ethical clothes that are environmentally friendly, yet super comfy (also, they look amazing). Next door is Global Infusion. This incredible shop is full of loose-leaf teas and spices, plus many Fair Trade gift items. While you’re there, grab a coffee or a chai to go! Rock Paper Scissors Consignment Boutique is right beside Global and there you’ll find great deals on gently used clothes. Further in the Blackport, you’ll discover Arts in Motion (art classes for exceptional people), Joyful Sounds (music classes for kids), Sole Healing, Yoga Studio GR, Ambrosia Theater, Full Strength Fitness Trainers, The Red Lobby countertop and cabinets and more! PHEW. (It’s a big building).

Moving up Lake Dr. a bit towards Eastown,  you’ll find new restaurant Red Bowl Chinese and hibachi (in the old Marie Catrib space… we just tried it… we highly recommend it). Root Farmacy, a take home meal subscription service (healthy AND delicious) is next door. Rise Wellness Pediatric and Perinatal Chiropractic Care (new to East Hills) and WMEAC (West MI Environmental Action council) fill out the building. Just up the road, is the gorgeous Paddock Place… sit out on the grounds and enjoy a cocktail!

Let’s move onto Cherry St. next, shall we? A little throwback…remember Gaia House? In its place these days is KCM, a Japanese/Korean fusion restaurant. At the corners of Cherry and Diamond, you’ll find custom jewelry makers Metal Arts Studio and Visionity Optical (formerly Honest Eyes… same game, new name). Sovereign Arms Tattoo can ink you up and New Design Floral can hook you up with the prettiest flowers EVER. Need some vino? Leon & Sons has got you covered. The historic Cherie Inn for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. Adored Boutique for shopping with a purpose. Pickwick for a quick nip and Gemini Handmade for, well, handmade goodness. Best bookstore in GR? We think so. It’s Books & Mortar. Get your macaron fix at Le Bon Macaron. All the best women’s fashion accessories at Iris Boutique. Grab a refreshment at Kava Kasa or some handmade ice cream at Furniture City Creamery.

Networking and ice cream at the Furniture City Creamery courtyard
Gemini Handmade – just another of our businesses that is family owned and operated

There’s sushi at Maru and cold brew/hot food at Brewery Vivant. Home furnishings and interior design at Windsor Cottage. Need some printing done? Look no further than Storr Printing! And if you have accounting needs, check out Boerkel & Boerkel.

Maru Sushi looks as lovely as it tastes!

Sight Optical can get you seeing in style and The Green Well never serves a bad meal or cocktail. Best children’s store around? DEFINITELY Hopscotch Children’s Store (we may be a little biased). Across the street is J. Bidder Home Design, another new business here.

Down Cherry past Eastern, you’ll find Cherry Hill Market (a general store) and the Parlor next door… an old-fashioned ice cream joint! Over on Lake Dr., between Eastern and Diamond, you’ll find LaFontsee Gallery, always featuring spectacular art (plus a sweeeet gift shop to boot).

A couple of our businesses have recently moved out of East Hills…but don’t worry, both are reopening soon! YT Galleria is moving just down the street to Eastown and Lennon and Willow will be back, up at Knapp’s Corner. Be sure to visit them both, in their new digs. And watch for the newcomers to their spaces…they have a habit of repopulating kinda quickly in our neck of the woods!*

Thanks for coming along on our walkthrough. Did we miss anyone?? Gosh, we hope not. But just to be sure, come visit our beautiful, walkable district and check for yourself. You’ll be glad you did!

Choosing a fave a LeBon Macaron
Daily specials and seasonal beers keep the menu so fresh at Brewery Vivant
So much to discover just by walking the district!

For more information on any of the fabulous East Hills businesses listed here, of course make sure to scope their social channels, or, find them on the East Hills directory page of our website.

*Since this article was drafted we have welcomed a wonderful new business to the former space that Lennon and Willow occupied – enter Covet Leisure – a trendy and fun boutique filled with apparel and accessories.

And now for that bio:

About the author – Mark Tobin is co-owner/operator of Hopscotch Children’s Store, along with his wife Emily. They bought the store in 2017 and absolutely LOVE being part of the East Hills neighborhood. Owning their own store is a dream come true. Mark does freelance graphic designer on the side and Emily works in publishing (they somehow manage to run the store in their spare time). They’ve lived in Midtown for years (close enough to walk to their shop), along with their son (he’s been a GREAT product tester) and their puppy, Twyla (she like to chew on shoes and whatnot).