Carrying everything from home décor and kitchen accessories to local art and sustainable fashion, Millie and Pepper is a modern take on a general store. Find the shop at 120 S. Union Street, Traverse City.
Peek inside! Scroll for pictures and an interview with shop owner Julia Hearne.
Tell me about your name, Millie and Pepper, and your idea for a modern general store.
Millie and Pepper are dog names. Pepper is my dog and Millie is his friend. Millie’s owner, Amanda Klepper of The Filling Station, has also been a great help in helping me flesh out ideas and get up and running. The old general store was a place that carried a broad selection of merchandise, where people would come to purchase all their general goods. Our modernized version is still the same with our products being a broad selection of beautifully designed, well-made clothes, kitchen and home goods, chocolate, coffee, and more.
Sounds like you’ll be carrying a wide variety of products. What brands are you carrying?
We are carrying Amour Vert for women’s clothing. It means green love in French but is an American-made brand that believes that great fashion and social responsibility can coexist. I love watching people touch the fabric and gasp about how soft it feels. For men’s fashion, I am carrying Faherty, “clothes made from premium materials with a focus on unwavering craftsmanship.” I am also carrying a line of clothes my family makes. Maus & Hoffman is a men’s clothing store that my grandfather started in Petoskey in 1940. It is still in our family, though all the stores are now in south Florida. I will be carrying their Solemar label at Millie and Pepper.
A couple of our local Michigan companies are Higher Grounds Trading Co.; Loon Hardwoods from Dorr, Michigan, which makes wonderful wood cheese boards, bread knives, cheese knives and cutting boards; and Detroit Grooming for men, We are proud too of our local artists and artisans, such as painter Duncan Spratt Moran and Windsor chair maker/instructor, David Abeel. We also have paintings coming from a nationally-renowned artist from Santa Fe (who spends time in Charlevoix), Noah Desmond, who is also a relative.
We have an amazing selection of craft chocolates that my husband, Matt Desmond, has researched and collected from around the country. They complement the delicious coffee selection that he also has put together.
Tell me about your connection to TC and why you wanted to open a shop here.
I grew up in south Florida but my family was originally from Northern Michigan. In fact, my great grandparents owned a significant auto part business in the building that now houses North Peak Brewing Company. My husband and I have a familiar story to many people. We were living on the west coast and started a family. We wanted to be closer to our family in Michigan and found that Traverse City was a great place to live and raise a family.
What can visitors expect when they stop in?
We want to create a curated experience for visitors in which they can browse casually and then stop to learn more about any item that catches their fancy for any reason. With items from swim trunks made out of recycled pop bottles to growler carriers to sleek coffee brewing products, we hope every customer leaves the store feeling like they had an enriching experience whether or not they made a purchase.