For 35 years, The Detroit News has “tipped its newsboys cap” each year to some of the state’s most inspiring people. The organization has saluted more than 400 individuals whose excellence, courage, philanthropy or simple acts of kindness uplift not only the metropolitan area, but also all of Michigan. This year’s designees include Curtin, who was selected by the News for her many community contributions, including hosting several dozen charity fundraisers at Leon & Lulu each year.
View Full Articleposted: 06/18/2013
Leon and Lulu's Curtin Wins Best Independent Store Owner in 2013 Reader's Poll
May 29, 2013 (Clawson, MI) – Mary Liz Curtin, co-owner of Leon & Lulu, a destination lifestyle store in Clawson, Mich.,was voted best Independent Store Owner by readers of Hour Detroit magazine in its 2013 Best of Detroit contest.
Dallas Market Center Announces The Next Big Give Winners
DALLAS – February 14, 2013 – Dallas Market Center today announced the two winners for The Next Big Give, the third annual national search for specialty retailers that make a difference in their communities through volunteering, raising funds or donating goods.
After you stash away your holiday decor, it's time to rethink your everyday accents.
Get some suggestions from Mary Liz Curtin, co-owner of Leon & Lulu in Clawson, and Dan Davis, owner of Dan Davis Design in Ferndale, who recently teamed up to do a seminar at Curtin's store called "The Art of Accessorizing."
We want to wish you and your loved ones the very best this holiday season. Don't forget to stop in to say hi, sit, relax, take a nap, and get all your holiday needs taken care of.
View Full Articleposted: 12/04/2012
If "America's Got Talent" ever staged a competition for gifted retailers, Mary Liz Curtin would be the hands-down winner. A life literally lived in retail, powered by fearless determination and a wicked shopping gene, have propelled Curtin's career achievements into a successful orbit giving Clawson, MI, and thousands of happy customers a shopping experience as unique as her roller-rink store, Leon & Lulu. Expecting the unexpected is her trademark. And her career is a beautiful illustration of how doing things very differently makes all the difference.
Mary Liz Curtin and Stephen Scannell, owners of Leon & Lulu, were honored as Business Person of the Year. Clawson Chamber President Char Lawson called their furniture, gift and accessory emporium, located in the former Ambassador Roller Rink at 96 W. 14 Mile Road, "the most unique store I've ever seen -- a destination," noting that the couple takes "an entertaining, civic-minded business approach."
It first caught my eye a few months ago in a shop in Stratford, Ontario, and now I see the GurglePot turning heads at Leon & Lulu in Clawson. A surefire conversation piece, it literally makes a splash and will add a touch of whimsy to any table. Simple and graceful, the durable stoneware pitcher produces a delightful "gurgle" while dispensing beverages, with or without ice. It comes in 17 colors, two sizes ($23 and $42) and also works as a stand-alone accent piece or vase for fresh flowers. Leon & Lulu is at 96 W. 14 Mile; call (248) 288-3600 or check leonandlulu.com. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. An after-Christmas sale with holiday items half off starts at 9 a.m. Monday.
Does Santa know what you want? Have you let the folks at the Pole know how to fill your stocking? We are here to help! Drop your list off here at L&L and our friendly elves will email it directly to the Santa's Helper of your choice. Want something from another store? No problem! Put it on the list and we'll get the message to the jolly old elf. We just want you to be happy.
Leon & Lulu created the perfect backdrop for Bob Novak’s 1963 Volkswagen De Lux Station Wagon Microbus. Photographer David Freers of Novi, and assistant Brian Osinski shot interior photos of the vintage VW in May of this year. The vehicle can be seen in the Fall 2011 issue of Motor Trend Magazine. Special thanks were given to Leon and Lulu for use of “the store’s eclectic selection of goods…”
Renowned “fabric painting” artist Chris Roberts-Antieau is inspired by the joy, wonder and humor all around us, freezing them into unbelievably detailed pieces made from freehand-cut cloth shapes and hung behind glass in hand-painted frames. Come see three new pieces.
CLAWSON – Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson showed up Wednesday at the Leon & Lulu store to celebrate the city’s downtown joining the county’s Main Street program to spur economic development.
The city is joining 11 other downtowns that are already part of the Main Street Oakland County program, which is organized through the Main Street National Trust for Historic Preservation. Nationally, 44 other downtowns take part in the effort and share their expertise in revitalizing older downtown districts.
Leon & Lulu, metro Detroit’s destination shopping oasis, is expanding, with the purchase of the Clawson Theater. The movie house was built in 1941 (the same year as the roller rink that houses Leon & Lulu) but the last film was shown in about 1962. Since then the building has been used as a warehouse, café, and light industrial site but has been vacant in recent memory. Plans for the 7,800 square foot site include replacing the marquee and restoring the building for use as additional retail space for the award winning retailer as well as embracing the history and the spirit of "The Show", as the locals called it.
Leon & Lulu will celebrate the written word and the hard working writers who put pen to paper with its third annual Books & authors event held on Sunday, October 9 from 11am to 5pm. The event benefits the Detroit Free Press “Gift of Reading”. An expected 40 authors will be on hand (with pens in hand) to meet their readers, find new fans and sell their books.
Leon and Lulu extends a special thank you to our friends over at Pewabic Pottery in Detroit for allowing us to display this stunning pineapple fireplace. Now all we need is a chimney. Just kidding… we’d never get any work done curling up by this fireplace.
We love words, writers and reading. Books & Authors, a juried book fair, is our chance to celebrate local talent and give authors a place to come out of their ivory towers and meet their readers, sell their books and mingle with other ink-stained folk, right here in Leon & Lulu. We provide the space free of charge, promote the event and serve refreshments.
Darlene Rothman has a better idea for today’s home-improvement projects. Building on the premise that most people already know what they want and merely need some sideline input, she created her business, The Interior Coach.
The Huntington Woods resident, who has an interior design degree from Michigan State, also has 20 years in the business. She first served time in retail sales — working for Gorman’s, Michigan Design Center and Silver’s. Then she turned that knowledge and her talents to another area on the creative spectrum: interior coaching.
It was, she says, the answer for today’s method of room improvement .... [click title to read more]
Chris Roberts-Antieau is best-known for her “fabric paintings,” which usually find humor in everyday life, pop culture, animals, and people. Starting from scratch as a self-taught artist and sewer, she has built a remarkable career and accrued numerous famous fans and collectors. Her crowning achievements include a piece hung in the White House during the George W. Bush years, and she has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and fashion magazine Nylon.... [click title to read more]
We're thrilled to let you know that the Leon & Lulu pizza is back on the menu at Buddy's Pizza for the month of April.
This pizza was so well-liked last October that they decided to bring it back. Who wouldn't love brick cheese, shredded carrots, sauteed spinach and fresh broccoli on a multi-grain crust topped with tomato basil sauce, Asiago/Parmesan cheese blend and a hint of Italian spices?
The best part is that the Leon & Lulu pizza isn't going to ruin your diet. A dietician has taken a look at the ingredients and a nutrition analysis is available for those watching what they eat.
$1 for every 4 square and $2 for every 8 square pizza purchased will be donated to Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes.
April 1st marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of Leon & Lulu, which moved into and remodeled the former Ambassador Roller Rink and created a small-business success story for a metropolitan Detroit neighborhood. As part of the fifth year celebrations, the one-store location is going national with the opening of their online destination at www.leonandlulu.com to offer an ever-growing selection of gifts, home accents and personal accessories.
Why go: It's a chance for scrapbookers to catch some bargains and use the store's cricut cartridges for free. The evening offers great fellowship of other scrappers and crafters and a chance for you to work on your projects. Beverages and snacks are included in the price.
Why Go: Locals artists and craftsman will gather to display and sell artwork including home accessories, fiber art, wall art, jewelry and more. The shop will provide some entertainment and, sticking with the historic original use of the building, provide roller rink refreshments.
1. Leon & Lulu is a homestyle retail store in Clawson that sells unique gifts, knick-knacks, home décor items and hosts events and fundraisers for the community. The store, a former roller rink, opened its doors in April 2006.
2. Wunderground Magic Shop, in downtown Clawson, caters to magicians with a wide variety of magic trick items and entertainment the whole family may enjoy. They sell 3-D puzzles, masks, trick balls, zany arrow-in-the-head props, juggling pins, disappearing bouquets, trickster locks, cards, handcuffs, posters, books and movies add to the offerings. Patrons can take magic classes ($20 for about 1 1/2 hours, $100 for six children's sessions) or hire a magician for a special event (costs run from about $150-$225 for a 45-minute show).
3. Independently owned City Style in Berkley is a pleasant surprise for downtown shoppers. The boutique sells funky clothes, purses, shoes, jewelry and accessories, including the Made in Detroit line and Harveys bags. But, let's be honest, the shoes and boots are the main feature – customers can even rent out the store for a shoe party with friends. Coupons are available online and discounts are given for birthdays.
4 .Naka means "beautiful" in Shona, a language spoken in Zimbabwe. Owner Kelly Pettibone opened her shop in September 2005 and has since refined her boutique to attract anyone with even the slightest penchant for soft and subtle artistic beauty. Inside, you can find stationery, candles, jewelry, Ferndale and Detroit-centric gifts, winter accessories, original art and baby gear from local indie artists like Ferndale's Glass Action as well as national and D.I.Y. artists.
5. Paris is the perfect boutique in Royal Oak if you are looking for unique fashion, jewelry, accessories or home decor. The shop originally opened in 1999 as an antique store and evolved into offering both new and vintage items with new merchandise coming in daily. Merchandise may also be previewed online by visiting www.parisofroyaloak.com.
"An independently owned lifestyle destination" is how owner Mary Liz Curtin describes Leon and Lulu. What you will find in this former roller rink is furniture, home decor, jewelry, soaps and more. The furniture is arranged into vignettes along the perimeter of the store, as if you've walked into a well designed dollhouse. Behind these "walls" is a jackpot of accessories for the home, humans and pets. Adding to the charm is the coffee bar where the staff happily serves free java and popcorn. Doubly charming is how the store preserves the heritage of the Ambassador Roller Rink, the previous occupant of the building for 64 years. Roller skates and skating memorabilia is seamlessly displayed adding a fun quirkiness to an already amazing shopping experience. --Becky Schutter (excerpt from MetroMix Detroit web site)
If you love Leon & Lulu and would like to see us earn this title, then please go vote here!
Residents and patrons shopping or dining in Clawson this week may witness some random acts of kindness. That's because the city is partnering with local businesses and the Clawson Goodfellows to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week, Feb. 14-20.
Leon & Lulu customers who spend $10 or more on Saturday, February 19th will receive a gift of their choice from our "Random Gift of Kindness Table."
Stop in for a first look at new spring fashions, they're guaranteed to brighten your outlook. While you're here you can also improve your mood with a new sweater to get you through these dreary days...we've marked down winter clothes!
Come in out of the snow, take off those nasty, wet boots and run your toes through a few Company C rugs, recently marked down and ready to brighten your bedroom, perk up your parlor or add some dash to your dining area. Retired styles are maked down 30-70%...and the new outdoor collection is unbelievable!
Independent retail is tough anywhere, but opening a 15,000-square-foot store just outside Detroit was considered downright foolish when Mary Liz Curtin and her husband, Stephen Scannell, launched their business in a small suburb of Detroit on April 1, 2006.
Leon & Lulu is a lifestyle store in Clawson, just outside of Detroit, selling furniture, accessories, clothing and unique gifts in a friendly and fun atmosphere. Located in the historic Ambassador Roller Rink, Leon & Lulu provides a unique shopping experience. Leon & Lulu is serious about good design, fabulous service and great pricing -- but it has a sense of humor about everything else.
Clawson, Mich., is hardly a retail hot spot. As Curtin and Scannell searched for a building large enough for a furniture store and within their reach financially, they decided the old adage "location, location, location" would be better updated to "parking, parking, parking." So they looked for a place that would be easily accessible to anyone in the metropolitan Detroit area and had both proprietary and municipal parking. When they found a roller skating rink for sale, with fabulous floors, 15,000 square feet of space, and a long and happy history, they knew they had found the right place for Leon & Lulu. (The store was named for their now-deceased pets, the cat Leon Redbone Jones and Rottweiler Lucille (Lulu) McGillicuddy)
Visiting the store is meant to be a fun experience. There's always a cup of coffee waiting for you, served in a real mug. On weekends and at special events -- and in keeping with the shop's roller rink origins -- the store's Skillful Skating Waiters serve hot cookies and popcorn to guests while on skates. Not to be outdone, Spot the dog is always on hand to greet visitors.
"We do not track conversion rates," Curtin says. "If shoppers have a great time visiting us, they will come back when they are ready to buy." That philosophy extends to the product assortment, with prices starting at 75 cents for a finger monster and going up to thousands of dollars for pieces of furniture. "We try to have something for every shopper to buy, regardless of age or budget," says Curtin.
The biggest challenge for the shopkeepers was marketing the store on a very small budget. "We put every nickel we had into the property, the build-out and the opening inventory," Curtin says. "Our marketing and promotion had to be inexpensive and unusual." Most of the store's promotion budget goes into cause-related marketing, supporting a wide range of local charities. Last year the store had 65 special events, 54 benefitting charities, which brought customers from all over the area.
"When we opened the store we had 263 names on our mailing list. Now we have more than 11,000, thanks to our charity outreach," Curtin says. Leon & Lulu is designed for parties, with comfortable vignettes for seating, lots of dining tables and plenty of room for guests -- plus lots of parking. In addition to fairly straightforward fundraisers with catered food, music and raffles, Leon & Lulu has had blood drives, a pet adoption (nine dogs and three cats recently found homes), a pinewood derby with a 50-foot racetrack for the cars, and a celebrity auction featuring 50 decorated toilet seats.
"We are willing to try almost anything to raise money for a good cause, expand our reach and make new friends," Curtin says. "If an event works, we repeat it. If it does not work, we chalk it up to experience and move on. Fortunately, there have been very few flops."
The store also has two signature events, The Artists' Market and Books & Authors. The Artists' Market is a juried show offering local craftspeople an opportunity to sell their work in the store. There is no charge for exhibiting in the two-day event, which is held four times a year. While the store does charge a gallery fee for any items sold, it is an inexpensive way for craftspeople to show their work. The market exhibits about 35 artists and draws more than 1,000 shoppers each time. The event benefits Cass Community Services, serving the homeless population in Detroit. "We carry lots of handmade product and American-made product, and have supported the artistic community since we opened," Curtin says.
Books & Authors is held annually, with about 50 Michigan authors showing their books. This event benefits The Gift of Reading, an initiative by the Detroit Free Press to provide 25,000 books to children in Detroit.
Curtin does most of the buying for the shop, visiting numerous domestic and international trade shows to find products for the many categories the store covers. "We look for good design, excellent pricing and unusual items. I absolutely love looking for new merchandise and adore going to trade shows, working with craftspeople and digging around for new products to delight our customers," Curtin says. "No matter how great the store looks or how generous the donations are, good product is the key to retail success."
While humor and fun are key components of Leon & Lulu's success, these store owners are serious about their business, so they are careful to keep their margins strong and expenses low. "We have been profitable since our fourth month in business, and that money has gone right back into the store," Curtain says. They watch cash flow carefully, pay bills on time and pinch their pennies. "Careful management is as important as strong sales for a successful business of any kind," Curtin says. "It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations and lose track of the nickels and dimes that are being wasted."
There are no plans for a second store or franchising the concept, but Leon & Lulu's online store has just launched. "Building a virtual store is just as much work as opening a real store," says Curtin. "We are working hard to make the online experience as much fun as in-store shopping."
Saverio Mancina owns a Marketing & Communications firm. Leon & Lulu is one of his clients and also a favorite place to shop.
Proceeds from the purchase of each t-shirt benefits The Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School. HMI is the nation's oldest and largest social services organization benefiting LGBTQ youth between the ages of 12-24 with after school programs focusing on academic enrichment, career counseling, health & well-being and anti-bullying initiatives.
Read more about the program here. Click here to watch the amazing new video featuring HMI youth and ERASURE as they release a brand new version of A LITTLE RESPECT - HMI Redux.
DALLAS – January 10, 2011 – Dallas Market Center, the world’s most complete wholesale resource, today announced the 10 finalists for The Next Big Give, a national search for specialty retailers that give back in their communities. The finalists are retailers that are involved in a variety of ways through volunteering, raising funds or donating goods.
“Congratulations to The Next Big Give finalists,” said Bill Winsor, president and CEO, Dallas Market Center. “We thank each of you for the difference you make in your communities and hope your stories will encourage even more retailers to do the same.”
by Jane Genova Posted Jan 4th 2011 @ 5:50AM @ http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2011/01/04/how-one-retailer-thrives-even-in-detroits-worst-times
According to a conversation Mary Liz Curtin had with Portfolio, the worst of times may be behind the people of Detroit. Curtin is the owner of Leon & Lulu, a 15,000-square foot retail store that sells gifts, clothing, and furniture.
All this optimism comes from a woman whose shop continues to thrive even in the darkest days of the auto industry. Her company employees 32 and has currently expanded to include a web presence.
Integral to the companies success is Curtin's unique approach to doing business.
Leon & Lulu, a store that offers an eclectic collection of furniture, crafts and gifts for the home, hosted the event from 1-4 p.m. to encourage children to write thank you notes, to collect toys for the needy and to give kids one last chance this season to take pictures with Santa.
About 30 children came to see Santa, who greeted them in a tent in the back of the store, and to say thank you before he returned to the North Pole.
Sisters Penelope Day, 4, and Charlotte Day, 7, donated toys they had received from Santa.
Thank you for making 2010 a great year at Leon & Lulu!
As a mom-and-pop business, we feel that all of you are our extended family.
Thank you to our fabulous customers for shopping with us and even more thanks for sending your friends in. We hope we have delighted you this year and have lots of surprises coming for 2011.
We thank the artists who make the hand made crafts that we sell at the Artists' Market and year round as well as the writers who are here in October for Books & Authors, We marvel at the vendors who supply us with a constant stream of great merchandise and the reps who keep our shelves full. We are mad for our friends in the media who have kept our name in the news and thrilled with shoppers who have discovered us on the Web. We send many, many thanks to our friendly and hard working staff.
Thanks to your support, the 54 charity events we held this year have raised over $40,000 for local nonprofit organizations (and that is just what came directly through the store. It does not include ticket money, pledges or gifts made directly to the charities).
Spot thanks everybody for feeding him cookies, scratching his tummy and coming just to say hello.
The Detroit area doesn’t get much good economic press, but specialty retailer Mary Liz Curtin has shown significant year-over-year sales increases. That’s a lot of flying monkeys tucked into Christmas stockings.
I first started talking with Mary Liz Curtin about Christmas in the spring, when the specialty retailer stopped by the Portfolio.com offices to introduce herself. She came loaded with small items perfect for stocking stuffers (the flying and screaming monkey she had in hand will be a big hit on Saturday morning, I’m sure).
With Christmas just a few days away, I wanted to check in with Curtin to find out how the year had gone and how the holiday season was shaping up. Curtin, along with her husband, are owners of Leon & Lulu, a combination gift, clothing, and furniture store in Clawson, Michigan, just north of Detroit.
The event attracted hundreds of customers who got the opportunity to meet with creators of the artwork. Co-owner Mary Liz Curtin said the store will host four two-day Artists' Markets each year. The first market was in August 2009 and Curtin said high turnout has encouraged her to continue the events.
"We've always had high standards," Curtin said about the jury-selected artists featured in the event. The market has become so popular that, "we have more artist supply than we can accommodate," she said.
On Sunday, 41 different artists presented a variety of unique items for shoppers to browse. Julie Race, who makes recycled items, displayed cloth snack bags and decorative owl pillows made from sweaters.
"The event is wonderful," said Sandy O'Brien of Midnight Creations in Birmingham. O'Brien sold handmade purses, totes and other accessories created from various fabrics. "Everything I make is simple and functional; the fabric does the work."
Kindle Wear, a home-based business, offered a line of screen-printed clothing designed by West Bloomfield artist Kyle Staulter, who said she is "inspired by vintage illustrations."
Janice Degen, of Bloomfield Township, sold jewelry that she called giftables. "I like to take out my frustrations" while making jewelry, she said. "Banging and beating on a piece of metal really helps."
Kim Grant, an artist from Grand Rapids, was popular among patrons at the event. Grant's art comes in the form of handmade cat toys. Filled with strong catnip, her toys were available in fabric fortune cookies, ï»¿martini glasses, bumpy pickles and more. "The packaging is more for the people; the toys are more for the cats," Grant said.
Sherrie Singer, of the home business Girlie Goodz, nearly sold out of her "Handbags for Healing," which are designed to raise charitable funds after a friend was diagnosed with cancer.
One satisfied customer was Gretchen Greenwood who bought a Girlie Goodz purse. "I love my new handbag," Greenwood said. "I'll never find another one like this."
Many artists who participated in the market were pleased with the event.
The variety "is what makes the event so much fun," said Patrice Pannill who makesï»¿ paper art, cuff bracelets and free-form bead art. "The wonderful thing is, the people that work (at Leon & Lulu) totally reflect the atmosphere."
The Artists' Market not only caterted to customers and artists, but also to charity. The event benefits ï»¿Cass Community Social Servicesï»¿ by selling their mud mats. Cass employs homeless men to collect abandoned tires around Detroit and recycle them into handmade mud mats and 100 percent of the profits go back to the nonprofit. Leon & Lulu also served hot dogs, beer, wine and other snacks and beverages, donating all tips to Cass Community Social Services.
Read the full story and check out one of artists, Sandy O'Brien of Midnight Creations, on her blog page.
This holiday season there are plenty of heartfelt gifts and humorous knick-knacks at Leon & Lulu. Amidst its wall-to-wall variety of fancy products and stocking stuffers, co-owner, Mary Liz Curtin pointed out gifts that have captured the bulk of her customers, making these products the top 10 hot items, in no particular order, at Leon & Lulu.
"These are all things that hit a lot of different kinds of people – people of all different ages," Curtin sad.
1. Kissing Krystals: Curtin said this sparkling mistletoe has been the No. 1 holiday seller thus far. Store associates were unpacking these Tii Collections Krystals by the boxes because they had already sold hundreds of the hot ornamental items. The Krystals come in three different shapes, one small and two large. Small Krystals are on sale for $14.99 each, while the larger ones are priced at $19.99.
2. J & D's Baconnaise and Bacon Salt: In order to cut corners and skip right to the succulent taste of bacon, Curtin advises picking up a 15 fluid-ounce jar of Baconnaise for $6.99 or a shaker of Bacon Salt for $4.99. The Baconnaise comes in two types, regular and light. "People are loving it, it's a brand new item and we're selling tons of them," Curtin said.
3. Buckyballs: Zoomdoggle is a past time that creates fun for all ages. The 216 small magnetic balls can be morphed into many different shapes and forms. Advertised as a huge stress reliever and office friend, the product is sold for $34.99.
4. Tea Duckie: This Decor Craft Inc. product suggests a playful twist to the traditional brewing of tea. The yellow rubber duck comes with a mesh basket connected to its bottom. In order to make the tea the consumer fills the basket with their tea of choice, then positions and locks the basket in place under the duck. The duckie then performs its duty by infusing the tea. This nifty product costs $9.99.
5. Weird Michigan: For those history buffs wanting to learn local legends, secrets and wacky traits of their beloved Michigan, this is the perfect gift. Weird Michigan, written by Linda S. Godfrey,? has a selling price of $19.95. "It's great for anybody who lives in Michigan, used to live in Michigan or wants to live in Michigan," Curtin said.
6. Cell Phone Stands: The store sells cell phone stands for $8.99 in the form of angel wings fitted to a suction cup. In order to use the stand, users fit the suction cup to the back of their mobile device and can evenly adjust the angel wings to position the stand as they please. Leon & Lulu also has iPlunge stands for iPhones. The mini plunger model suctions to the back of an iPhone, but caution, this plunger can't solve a phone's water issues. This is available for $6.99.
7. Bryn Walker Oversized Tweed Sweater: This loose and cozy sweater comes in three colors-- silver, charcoal and brown. Curtin said the turtleneck sweater is a comfy fit and can be worn with just about anything. This could make for the perfect gift for that special someone. It sells for $210.
8. Journals: My Quotable Kid and Ticket Stub Diary: Both of these journals are available for $14.95 and are great give-a-ways so people can preserve the past. My Quotable Kid, published by Chronicle Books, is a journal filled with pages of quote bubbles and room to detail the date, reason and whereabouts that the quote takes place. Curtin said its perfect for kids' first words. The Ticket Stub Diary, by Eric Epstein, is the perfect gift for a teenager and has sleeves for concert ticket stubs, movie tickets and sporting events, and room to add details to the special event in the margins.
9. Thymes Frasier Fir: Curtin declared Frasier Fir as 'the scent of the season'. "It's a holiday scent that's a tradition in many homes, and we have every single piece of it," she said. Leon & Leo has a display catering to the scent that can be found just to the left as people breeze through the store's front door. From dish washing liquid ($9.99), to hand lotion ($13.99), to reed diffuser ($59.99) and large aromatic candles ($48.99), Frasier Fir offers a fresh scent to any room.
10. Pees Earrings: These radiant earrings are made with crystallized swarovski elements and are available in 56 colors including moonlight, palace opal, vintage rose and peridot. They cost $29.99 a pair. Curtin said they are a 'tremendous amount of sparkle for the money.'
Along with the Gift of Reading drive, the Free Press has asked readers to tell us about their favorite children's books. Here are favorites from two readers. Leon & Lulu is a collection site for the "Gift of Reading".
When I was young, I loved the day our book orders arrived at school. In the 1960s, Dr. Seuss books were a hit.
But in the second grade, I remember "Charlotte's Web" leaving a strong impression on me. I've bought a copy for my daughter.
My daughter Natalie, now 13, loved picture books.
One of her favorites and mine, "Tumble Bumble" by Felicia Bond.
The rhyming picture book is fun, teaches numbers, and takes you on an adventure. Not to mention it has darling illustrations!
-- Laura Becker, 51, of White Lake Township, who volunteered Thursday for Gift of Reading with her daughter Natalie. Becker authored a children's picture book titled, "The Wonder of a Summer Day."
There is nothing like a great girl adventure story. Nancy Drew is the queen of the genre, of course, but there was also Cherry Ames and the Dana Girls, all of whom were smart, independent amateur detectives, solving crimes and (sometimes recklessly) heading straight into the face of danger to get the answers they sought.
Nancy was the best. She was smart, wealthy, pretty and drove a roadster with great skill and speed. Only 16 years old (18 in later books), Nancy was already a high school graduate, could shoot, pilot a plane, cook, swim like a champion, drive that roadster like it was Le Mans and speak French fluently.
Nancy had virtually no parental supervision (that was certainly appealing!) and found herself in many threatening situations, from which she saved herself, emerging unscathed to sleuth again. Nancy was also nice, witty and had a charming boyfriend, the handsome Ned Nickerson. The books were written for kids, but were never condescending or juvenile. Nancy was a great role model: determined, resourceful, smart and fearless.
Reading Nancy Drew was one of my childhood passions. I still aspire to be just like Nancy, independent, fearless and capable, as well as compassionate and determined. Did I mention well-dressed? Nancy had everything except a job.
I hope someday to be called plucky, just like Nancy.
-- Mary Liz Curtin, co-owner of Leon & Lulu in downtown Clawson
Clawson store owners create unique lifestyle shop while hosting special events and fundraisers.
Leon & Lulu is no ordinary furniture store. Instead, the 15,000-square-foot former roller rink in Clawson offers an environment filled with an array of unique gifts, knickknacks and home décor items and also plays an active role in the community.
"We are a destination retail store, a lifestyle store," said co-owner Mary Liz Curtin, of Royal Oak.
Pizza is probably Americas’ favorite food, trumping the lowly hot dog, miles above the classic peanut butter sandwich and so much easier to transport than macaroni and cheese. At home, in a restaurant or on the go, pizza is a food group of its own, combining every level of the food pyramid on one delicious pie.
Of course, no ordinary pizza can compare with the legendary Buddy’s Pizza, home of Detroit’s #1 square pizza since 1946. Imagine our delight when Buddy’s Pizza invented a “Leon & Lulu” pizza, an absolutely delicious combination of broccoli, spinach and carrots, with a tomato basil sauce and brick cheese. served on a multi grain crust, it is fabulous hot, excellent cold and, even better, every one Buddy’s sells in October makes money for Karmanos Cancer Center.
This is like a having star on Hollywood boulevard, except you can eat it. May I just mention one more time that it is delicious? Even our die hard pepperoni-with-sausage-and-extra cheese lovers were amazed and delighted with the “Leon &Lulu” pizza.
CLAWSON — The first-ever HAVEN Witches Brew Costume Party takes place from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 22 at Leon & Lulu, 96 W. 14 Mile Road.
Stirred by good cheer, a cauldron bubbling with fun will await attendees along with a costume contest, beer tasting, cocktails, food and shopping.
Tickets are $25 each for those with a costume and $30 per person without costume. All proceeds from this event benefit HAVEN and 10 percent of the sales at Leon and Lulu’s that day will go to HAVEN.
For 35 years, HAVEN has been working toward eliminating domestic violence and sexual assault. For more information about HAVEN and its programs and services, call (248) 334-1284 or go to haven-oakland.org.
Leon & Lulu is located in a former roller rink turned gifts, accessories, and home furnishing store. The owners held 61 events in 2009 with 51 benefiting nonprofit groups.
More than 40 Michigan authors will share their love of the written word during the second annual Books and Authors event at Leon & Lulu, a gift, accessories and furniture store in Clawson.
"We'll have authors of children's books and adult books with a variety of genres, from fiction to autobiography," says Mary Liz Curtin of Leon & Lulu. "They will be signing and selling their books and answering questions."
Among the participating authors are Laura Becker, Shutta Crum, Karen Dabney, Molly Glad, Janet Heller, Ryan Potter, Josie Richards, Chris Ringler and Patricia Shaw.
The event, sponsored by Leon & Lulu and ICU Eyewear, will benefit Beyond Basics, a nonprofit group that offers reading, writing and enrichment programs to metro Detroit students. Proceeds from refreshments, including hot dogs, popcorn, pop and adult beverages, also will benefit Beyond Basics.
"At last year's event, I really enjoyed watching the authors talk to people and meet people who enjoy or appreciate their work," says Curtin.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Leon & Lulu, 96 W. Fourteen Mile, Clawson. Free. 248-288-3600 or leonandlulu.com.
Living walls stuffed with plants are all the rage with interior designers from Dubai to New York. Houseplants not only look good and may improve our mental state, they are a great way to clean toxins from the air in both the home and office...But lack of space and kids and/or animals often make growing houseplants difficult or impossible. And planting a living wall used to be limited to those who could afford high-end custom setups...But the invention of the Woolly Pockets planter changed all that. Woolly Pockets are soft-sided modular containers that allow gardeners to create living walls stuffed with gorgeous greens and flowers both indoors and out. And the revolutionary planting system is perfect for folks who lack table space and want to garden outside the pot.
On Thursday, September 30, 2010 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Troy’s walk team Jack’s Jaywalkers will be hosting a Ladies’ Night at Leon & Lulu, 96 W. 14 Mile Road, Clawson. All proceeds from the event will benefit the American Diabetes Association’s signature event, Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes, happening on October 2, 2010 at the Detroit Zoo.
The event will include appetizers, refreshments and prizes, making for a fun-filled evening in support of a great cause. Leon & Lulu is an eclectic mix of upscale furniture, unforgettable gifts, and accessories in an environment unlike any other. Located in the historic Ambassador Roller Rink, they offer 15,000 square feet of fabulous shopping.
Jack’s Jaywalkers is a family/friend team formed in memory of long-time Troy Firefighter and resident Jack Schoenbeck who passed away last year to diabetes complications. Schoenbeck, a firefighter with Troy’s Station 1, was also a veteran in the US Air Force and an instructor at OCC’s Fire Academy.
It is fall...time to think about moving off the porch and back into the house. Are you ready? Is your house comfy and cozy?
Try my very simple system: 1. Organize and declutter. What don't you need? What do you own that will make somebody else happier than it makes you? Give it away! Clear the decks. 2. What do you need to make your home your very best nest? Maybe a new throw will do the trick or better lighting or fresh paint. Think carefully and make a plan. If it is upholstery or special order furniture, delivery will be 4-6 weeks, so start to shop now to have it for the holidays. 3. Only buy what you really love. Don't settle for good-enough or you will be redoing again very soon. By the way, this system works in your closet, too.
Fall is a great time for parties, too, and we have some great ones coming up this month and next. Don't miss the fabulous food from Buddy's Pizza and Ray's Ice Cream Friday, Oct 1st at our Passion for Pink Party, which benefits Karmanos Cancer Center. Recharge your batteries at Girls' Night Out, Tuesday, Oct 5th and be inspired to try indoor gardening. Support the local arts at Books & Authors on Sunday, Oct 10th and keep an eye out for our Halloween surprises.
LEON & LULU RECOGNIZED WITH A SPECIAL AWARD FOR SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY DURING THE RETAILER EXCELLENCE AWARDS August 16, 2010 (New York) - Recognition for Leon & Lulu's exceptional support of local nonprofits was deemed worthy of a special award at last night's 59th Annual Retailer Excellence Awards in New York City. Mary Liz Curtin, co-owner of Leon & Lulu, was present to accept the Special Award for Service to the Community, a surprise category created especially to recognize Leon & Lulu's achievement of hosting 65 in-store events in 2009, the majority of which supported local nonprofits.
LEON & LULU RECOGNIZED WITH A SPECIAL AWARD FOR SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY
DURING THE RETAILER EXCELLENCE AWARDS
August 16, 2010 (New York) - Recognition for Leon & Lulu's exceptional
support of local nonprofits was deemed worthy of a special award at last
night's 59th Annual Retailer Excellence Awards in New York City. Mary
Liz Curtin, co-owner of Leon & Lulu, was present to accept the Special
Award for Service to the Community, a surprise category created
especially to recognize Leon & Lulu's achievement of hosting 65 in-store
events in 2009, the majority of which supported local nonprofits.
View Full Articleposted: 09/16/2010
Sunday, October 10th 11am-5pm Leon & Lulu will celebrate reading and writing with its 2nd Annual Books & Authors event, hosting Michigan authors and provide a warm atmosphere for them to meet people interested in discovering a few good reads. The Books & Authors at Leon & Lulu will be held on Sunday, October 10 from 11am to 5pm. There is no admission fee to exhibit or attend. "Last year we hosted almost 40 local authors and the store was jammed with book lovers," explains Mary Liz Curtin, the owner of Leon & Lulu. "We all had so much fun that we decided to do it again especially since there are more local authors to discover. We also truly want to focus on the importance of literacy." Mary Liz' is also a local author, having penned A Shopkeeper's Manual, a terrific source for small business owners of all kinds. She is just finishing her second book, is a columnist and professional speaker.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2010 (Clawson, Michigan) - Leon & Lulu will celebrate reading and writing with its 2nd Annual Books & Authors event, hosting Michigan authors and provide a warm atmosphere for them to meet people interested in discovering a few good reads.
The Books & Authors at Leon & Lulu will be held on Sunday, October 10 from 11am to 5pm. There is no admission fee to exhibit or attend.
"Last year we hosted almost 40 local authors and the store was jammed with book lovers," explains Mary Liz Curtin, the owner of Leon & Lulu. "We all had so much fun that we decided to do it again especially since there are more local authors to discover. We also truly want to focus on the importance of literacy." Mary Liz' is also a local author, having penned A Shopkeeper's Manual, a terrific source for small business owners of all kinds. She is just finishing her second book, is a columnist and professional speaker.
View Full Articleposted: 08/29/2010
Leon & Lulu is delighted to celebrate local artists work with our Winter Artists' Market. The Winter Artists' Market will be held on Sunday, November 28th from 11am-5pm and Tuesday, November 30th from 3pm-8pm. There is no admission fee to attend or exhibit. While some artists from the previous Market will return, more than half the exhibitors will be new to the Market to ensure that the greatest possible number of artists can participate for the first time.
What if I came to you recently for advice on opening a business? What if I said I was going to open a 15,000-square-foot, brick-and-mortar, retail store selling gift items and furniture? What if I told you I was going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars creating this store? What if I told you it was in suburban Detroit? Put down the phone, there is no need to have me committed. The suggestions I’m making are exactly the choices made by Mary Liz Curtin and Stephen Scannell just a few years ago, and thanks to their understanding of The Awesome Experience, their store, Leon & Lulu, was in the black in less than four months, and today, it is a highly profitable multimillion-dollar destination store in Clawson, Mich.
Hiring Employees' Kin: A Worthwhile Family Affair?
After converting a roller rink into a furniture and gift shop in 2006, Mary Liz Curtin sought to preserve the original essence of the 15,000-square-foot facility by hiring workers to serve fresh coffee to shoppers—while wearing skates. To handle the task, she hired several of her existing employees' teenage kids.
"They thought it was a fun place to work," says Ms. Curtin, who co-owns the Clawson, Mich., retail concern, Leon & Lulu LLC, with her husband, Stephen Scannell.
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The year 2008 was not a banner year in retail, or almost anywhere else in business. With the credit crisis, economic downturn and housing melt- down, even the people with money were not spending as they have in the past. For the last few months each day’s news brought reports of job loss, stock market plunges and financial mayhem. After a cheery diet of financial news for breakfast, many shoppers did not seem to want to run out and buy gifts and accessories. Go figure. Naturally, Christmas did indeed come, and people finally shopped, but the year-end numbers for many shop- keepers were not up to projections. In many cases, stores did not meet 2007 figures and in some sad places the numbers were the worst ever. There were a few bright spots in independent retail. While some shopkeepers did have good seasons, it was a hard season for all.