Monday, Jan. 22, 2018
Sadly, Canterbury Village is no where near what it used to be. I have been shopping at Canterbury Village since 2001, and I used to love going there so much, I would actually feel sad when it was time to leave. Half of the beautiful treasures that I have in my home are things that I bought at Canterbury Village over the years. Unfortunately, I haven't found much to buy there since probably before 2010. Over the last 18 years, Canterbury Village has slowly become a very different place.
One of my favorite stores, "Trends and Traditions" (now the Canterbury Gift Store), used to have beautiful hand-painted glassware, gorgeous tea pots and tea cups and saucers, lovely hand-painted fairy figurines, beautiful silk flower arrangements, and many other pretty and unique hand-made, quality items for the home. Now, it is mostly full of items that I would classify as "junk," along with a lot of clocks and lamps for sale. Only a very tiny amount of remnants from their past merchandise exist in that store.
The types of merchandise described above that used to be found in the Canterbury Gift Store also used to be available in the many small shops throughout the village. These other small shops also used to be beautifully decorated: I remember one shop in the back had tree branches covering the walls and ceiling with twinkle lights in them. It was like walking into a fairy land! Another shop had tea tables set up in the back for visitors to have afternoon tea for a fee. Other shops had candles lit, and pretty music playing. The shops used to be a pleasure to visit, and they used to have beautiful merchandise for sale that was not only fun to look at, but that people were actually interested in buying.
It is a travesty that this is no longer the case. Many of the shops are closed, or they are businesses that make one type of craft/item on site, and only cater to people who are interested in ordering the specific type of craft/item that they make.
The crown jewel of Canterbury Village, the Always Christmas store, has been completely dismantled, with pieces of Christmas merchandise spread throughout the village. Walking into the old store used to be like walking into Duncan's Toy Chest from Home Alone 2, only with Christmas decorations for sale instead of toys. It was that impressive. It was a big, BIG mistake to sell the old building off to a church. I know many people who only went to Canterbury Village for the Always Christmas store, and were so disappointed by what they did to the store that they have not, and WILL NOT be returning to the village. The stores in the village were already going downhill before they dismantled the Always Christmas store, but it was the dismantling of their crown jewel that really tore my heart out.
The last straw for Canterbury Village was the recent closing of my absolute favorite stores in the village, the "Celtic Connection" and the "Highland Fling." I absolutely LOVE Irish and Scottish culture, and I have bought many things from these two stores over the years. I understand that the owner had been sick, and wanted to return to Ireland, but isn't there a way that the stores could have stayed open under a new owner, or couldn't a new owner of a Celtic store setup shop instead? Southeastern Michigan is already seriously lacking in Celtic stores, and these two stores were absolutely invaluable to people who love buying this type of merchandise. Perhaps plans are in the works to reopen a Celtic store at Canterbury village?? I certainly hope so.
For the time being, Canterbury Village remains a sad, faded reflection of it's old self, back when it had better shops that sold better merchandise. I only visit now once a year for nostalgia, and because I have a small glimmer of hope that the village will start to rebuild itself.