Swedes in Copper Harbor, Mi: Stay away from Swedes
Absolutely awful! Started coming to Copper Harbor 10 years ago. All shop owners are wonderful except Swedes! My friend and i were just in the store after being highly insulted by the owners about 4 years ago. Went in again to find the same dirty, dusty junk they've had for the 10 plus years I've been visiting CH. Decided to breeze through for another try. As I left the owner started ranting to my friend about hating people who "just rush through and don't take any time to look at everything.". Of course he gave her a piece of his mind. He told her that she is nasty and that it was the same dirty junk theyve had for years. Another customer agreed with him.
I urge all to beware of these hateful, mean people. After telling a few other shop owners we heard that is is a common occurrence and that they hear a lot of complaints.
There are plenty of other great shops in the area to buy rocks and stuff from. Don't even stop in there!
What to buy: Nothing but junk that's old and dusty!
What to pay: Nothing
Swede's Gift Shop & Keweenaw Minerals: Awesome Store!
This shop is unique. I was especially impressed with the scrimshaw on datolite. It is a level of scrimshaw I have not seen equaled from Maryland to Michigan. And I'm a collector. All kinds of collectible minerals and agates from the affordable to pieces I can only dream of owning. The proprietor Jim Billings is extremely knowledgeable in the history of Copper Harbor as well as mining all over Michigan. He is also the scrimshaw artist. I found it one of the most interesting places in the UP.
What to buy: Collectibles and gifts
What to pay: I found prices reasonable for normal level of gifts. There are some more precious items available as well if you've come for the serious purchase.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Swedes: Do Not Shop Here
Do Not Shop at this store. The owner A. Billings is extremely rude. I went in their hoping to purchase an item, but he was extremely rude to my family member and then to me when I pointed out nicely how rude he was. He charges 1,650 for rocks he etches into and doesn't understand why people do not purchase what I could do in an art class. While shopping at other wonderful shops, I was informed that A. Billings is known for being rude to and losing customers. Please do not waste your time at Swedes, I am spreading the word to all of my family and those who choose to visit. Someone should adjust his attitude, so that copper harbor does not have to keep apologizing for this pathetic man.
What to buy: Shop at the other stores surrounding Swedes, the people are much nicer and like to tell you about copper harbor and do not forget to stop for the famous fudge and ice cream
What to pay: He overcharges for everything, do not waste your time when you can have better products and service at a fraction of the price
Copper Harbor Mercantile: A little bit of everything
Hungry for a quick sandwich? Need food to go? The mercantile has lots to choose from. It's a gas station with fixings to go.
What to buy: Deli: Pizzas, subs, Gyros, Pasties, Soup and cookies
Jerky, Smoked FIsh
Gasoline for cars and snowmobiles.
Camping and fishing supplies.
Taprock Pottery: Quality Local Pottery
Taprock Pottery is a tiny shop that looks more like a storage shed with a porch, and is a great place to purchase pottery made by Dennis Sotala. Sotala is a true local, born in the Upper Peninsula. His parents and grandparents were fisherman, farmers, and miners in the area. His parents had to move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when Dennis was quite young, as there were no good paying jobs in the UP, but in 1972 Dennis returned to the UP, where he has lived ever since. It was not until the 90s, however, that Sotala began to sell pottery. You will find a variety of pots, bowls, and mugs. His designs are simple, with beautiful glazes and colors. He uses a number of local materials, and purchasing a piece of Sotala’s pottery, is truly taking an authentic local item from the UP home with you. The pottery has no lead in it, and can be put in the microwave, and the dishwasher.
You can view a few examples of his pottery at his web page listed below.
This tiny shop is open daily from the end of June through the color season in the fall, usually from noon to five, however in the slower season it may only be open from 2:00 – 5:00.
What to buy: The most inexpensive items are mugs, which are a great item to take home for yourself, or as a gift for a friend or relative back home, but all of his creations are beautiful. (See photo 3 for two mugs that I purchased.)
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
The Gas Lite General Store: A Small General Store
This small general store is the only location to purchase a few basic groceries in Copper Harbor. The store also sells beer, wine, and ice. Besides these, the General Store carries a variety of other items, such as hardware, some clothing, and sewing items. If you plan on fishing, this is a good store to purchase your bait and buy a fishing license, plus the store carries some fishing supplies such as tackle.
In the winter this is the place to get your snowmobile trail permit.
- Road Trip
Swede’s Gift Shop and Keweenaw Minerals: Hand Crafted Items, Art, and Minerals
Swede’s Gift Shop has been in Copper Harbor since 1984, and carries hand-crafted locally made gifts and art, as well as other gifts and mineral items such as greenstone and datolite. You will also find local agates for sale in Swede's. Some of the items you will find are jewelry, scrimshaw on datolite, ceramic items, sketches, paintings, Scandinavian gifts such as mugs and plates, antler art, nautical brass items, pewter items, troll figures, float copper book ends, clocks, sweat shirts, and T-shirts. There is also a nice collection of books, maps, and videos covering various subjects on the Upper Peninsula. If you are unfamiliar with Greenstone, it is a gemstone found on Isle Royal National Park and in some of the deep underground copper mines of the Keweenaw. Datolite is a gemstone found in Northern Michigan. I have been told that each copper mine has datolite in colors that are characteristic of that individual mine. Agates are a popular gemstone in the UP of Michigan. This is formed during the cooling of old lava upheavals, and if you know what you are looking for, can sometimes be found washed up on beaches in the Keweenaw. There is also an item called, Half Breed Nuggets that can be found in the store. I had never heard of this before going to Swede’s. These are nuggets of intertwined silver and copper, and can be very interesting and beautiful when polished. These can only be found in the veins of native copper and silver of the Keweenaw and Isle Royal. The shop is open 9 am to 6 pm 7 days a week from May to October.
What to buy: I purchased a lovely print of Mackinac Bridge in the fog, a watercolor painted by local artist Lindon Dahlstrom. His art shows the lakes, woodlands, and history of the Lake Superior region and the Upper Peninsula. You can purchase both original and prints at Swede’s. A friend of ours purchased a beautiful scrimshaw on datolite by artist Jim Billings. Billings carefully engraves local and historic copper mining photos and other subjects on pieces of datolite. The piece that our friend purchased, was quite expensive, but it was a fine, quality, unique piece of art. I have also purchased earrings in the shop. Local craftsmen do some of the jewelry, but not all.
- Road Trip
Grandpa’s Barn: Need a book?
Grandpa’s Barn is a small bookstore located along a side street in Copper Harbor. You will find a variety of books including nature guides, regional books, novels, and children books. The shop itself is housed in a small, remodeled barn, and is usually open from Memorial to Labor Day. Hours vary, however, depending on the busy time in Copper Harbor. July and August usually finds it opening daily at 10:00 and closing around 8:00 or 9:00. In May and most of October, the shop is open on weekends, and sometimes other days of the week.
What to buy: Two items I purchased were a book on Wildflowers of Michigan for $16.95, and While the Locust Slept, a nonfiction book by Peter Razor, who grew up as an orphan American Indian boy. This memoir is a stirring tale of a lost childhood in the 1930s. Suffering from abuse and bigotry at the state orphanage, growing older with out being adopted, the orphanage placed him with a farm family as an indentured worker. This situation turned out to be brutal, as he was treated more like a slave. This Minnesota Book Award winner reads like a novel. I paid $10.95 for it, and both my husband and myself read it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what it was like for an Indian boy in this situation.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Thunderbird Gift Center: Old Stuff & Mocassins
It's part of the Astor House Motel, in past the reception desk and you'll find a string of rooms looking out onto US 41 packed full of 'stuff'. It's all good stuff. postcards, pictures, coins, antiques, magazines, election buttons. Most things in daily life seem represented here. Books on the lakes, shipping and local history.
Grandpa's Barn: Best Bookstore in town
Yup, it's an old barn, rehabed and turned into a book store. Local authors and stories and best sellers
What to buy: I don't know what I purchased. Some light reading for quiet, restful afternoon and something on Lake Superior and Isle Royale.
What to pay: Suggested retail price and listed on the book by the publisher.
Fisherman's Daughter: Terracotta in Tuscany, opps, Copper Harbor
Located down on the dock. Half is a fish store, the other half a crafts shop. Don't let the appearance of a worn down fish house fool you. It's quite nice and the gift shop is top quality. The fish is also good if you're in season and looking for fresh fish.
What to buy: Well, it's probably not terracotta, but it is pottery. Plates, cups, mugs, ornaments, you name it and they seemed to have it. Stainted glass and gifte
Ragamuffin's: Fine clothing
It may have been more than just women's clothes. There were actually, home furnishings. But most wouldn't fit in my home. These things were finally made, reflecting someone with some style in there life. That's not me, but if it's you, you'd love this place. Especially since it's assumed that you left style a 100 miles to the south.
The Berry Patch: Homemade berry Jams
A hideway on the southside of M-26 on the east edge of town. Great place to get an ice cream treat on a hot day. Okay, there are no hot days in Copper Harbor. How about - On a sunny day - Yeah that works. Great ice cream.
What to buy: Ice Cream
Old Country Store: A Shop With an Old Fashion Style
The Old Country Store is the favorite shop of many people who visit Copper Harbor. It is one of the largest shops in town, with good quality items. This shop is a little like stepping back in time, as the building and fixtures are of the 1880 era, and you will find such old fashion items as hard candies and antique reproductions. Other items in this shop include books of local interest, gourmet kitchen items, herb teas, coffees, spices, jams, and jellies. You will also find maps and information about the Copper Harbor area.
- Family Travel
The Laughing Loon: For a Variety of Items to Remind You of the U.P.
My favorite gift shop is the Laughing Loon located on 1st Street just up the street from the Harbor Haus Restaurant. Although this is a small shop, it is packed with a variety of mostly high quality items. Besides gifts and items to help you remember your visit, you may also rent canoes, and arrange for guided local woodland tours.
What to buy: The Laughing Loon has quality handicrafts focusing on the natural environment of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There are also books, sweat and T-shirts with a Copper Harbor theme, jewelry, and items for children.
- Family Travel