In my loop of things to do today, I passed though three communities all very close to one another: Royal Oak, Ferndale and the Eastbound 8 mile strip of businesses that form the hub for residential streets that lay beyond.

Royal Oak is a good place to see and be seen, this is no secret. There are plenty of niche markets and shops to satisfy the sophisticated palates of those seeking to find the perfect items for their uber urban lifestyle. There are sushi bars, wine bars, martini bars and regular old pick-up bars. Retro everything; mainstream strickly prohibited. But yet I don’t quite feel at home while strolling the sidewalks of Main. There was a time I thought I did when I was young, unmarried and living the life of a free spirit who grew up in the cornfields of a small farm town. Royal Oak was my oasis from the cheesy standards of my youth. God, the uninspiring fashion trends I followed not because they spoke of who I was inside (she was a girl still undefined) but because there were no options! There was no diversity. Nothing from which to choose. The minute I discovered life beyond hicksville I discovered Royal Oak and all the ecclectic people who flocked there to be, well…rather intentionally ecclectic. But I am a wife and mother now and frankly don’t have the time nor desire to cultivate eccentricities. Any unconventional behavior at this point is purely incidental.

Moving on to Ferndale, I remember the upper flat I shared with my crazy Rasta friend. One bedroom, she got the bedroom, I got the closet and the pull-out. There were many mornings of showers interrupted by last night’s dinner backing up from the neighbors downstairs. Suffice it to say it didn’t cost much to be part of this trendy scene, but then again you usually paid dearly for bad plumbing that comes with low rent. The little gourmet French restaurant around the corner was at that time my decadent indulgence. And still today, Ferndale shopping has yet to evade me. I just love it! Funky, diverse; unpretentious to the point of almost spiritual if you ask me. Seems to me that here is a place where business owners tend to share with the public a little part of their souls. Their shops are an expression of their personal passions rather than a sales pitch for how to be hip. It was fabulous then, even more to my eyes now. Although today I passed the new Rosie O’ Grady’s and thought it not so well that this is creeping in. But what the heck, if the Blue Nile can survive it, who gives a care? I think I’ll take a day in the fall when the kids go back to school to revisit that old familiar scene. It’s been too long. As far as family communities go, J’adore my life in ol’ GP but for shopping it’s Ferndale HANDS DOWN!

So I stopped by my BFF’s chiropractic office on 9 Mile to drop off something she needed, got the kiddies and myself a quick adjustment and then headed out onto 8 mile for the trek home.

This is where things really got interesting. This whole post came into being because of one place that never fails to pop out at me when I am on 8 mile: Sampson’s Clipper Connection. Is that great or what? Down the way was “Cut it Low” which was cute, but still doesn’t hold a candle. Here are a few other business names that I think make up the most inventive little cluster of retail services I have ever seen. Royal Oak may have its sushi and Ferndale its zen, but when it comes to creative business names, Detroit proprieters win the metal.

Anyway here’s the list:

Sampson’s Clipper Connection (makes me want to give Sampson a hug)
D’ Finest (if I had a hot date this would be my choice)
Odd Hour Daycare (there I saw a lineup of 15 kids walking in on a long, yellow leash)
Cut it Low (why not Kurl it Tight?)
Shizzle my Nizzle (just kididng)
Hot Wheel City (the key word here is HOT)
Dreamlife Financial Services (no hidden agendas there)

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