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Shopping Adventure #1: Gorman’s

May 16, 2012

One afternoon several months ago I was driving down 28th Street, a major commercial strip in my city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and this fantastic idea came to me. You see, I love to shop. But despite that, I tend to frequent the same few stores when I go out. Just a quick glance to my left and right as I drove down the road confirmed that I had been completely ignoring many other options. Sure, some of them are undoubtedly out of my price range, but I decided that it would still be worthwhile to pay them a visit. My reasons being:

  • To know my city better.
  • To get off my bum.
  • To familiarize myself with what you can get for your money.
  • To make note of nice stores for future clients. (Yeah!)
  • And of course: it’s an excuse to shop!

So I am embarking on the very ambitious (read: slightly insane) task of visiting every single store that sells home goods down several miles of 28th St and the surrounding area. And you, lucky reader, will be subjected to it all! Some visits may result in just a short mention and a couple photographs, others may get dozens of photos like this first one.

If you live in West Michigan this series may be slightly more interesting to you since you can also check out these stores if something catches your eye, but it is my hope that even those of you elsewhere will enjoy discovering new things with me. And maybe it will inspire you to also explore the corners of your city that you have yet to see!

We’re debuting with a bit of a doozy. Gorman’s is so close to my home that I could walk there easily. So it’s a little strange that I’ve completely ignored it till now. You’d think a headline like “Home Furnishings & Interior Design” would have drawn me in long ago! But I also had a feeling that the style and price point of their wares may not be up my alley, and I was right… mostly.

The company Gorman’s has been around for quite a while according to their website, and they have 5 locations across West Michigan. Their staff on site are all Interior Designers, which is neat. Upon entering the store I was asked if I needed help with anything by a woman at the front desk who checked on me several more times. She also inquired about me personally and I was able to briefly explain to her that I am interested in interior design. I really appreciated that she showed an interest in me.

Please note: The prices shown here represent what I saw the day I visited Gorman’s. The same products and prices may or may not be available currently.

Loved that brass floor lamp and wood étagère. While the three and four hundred dollar price range certainly isn’t unheard for items like these, this is well out of my current budget. I might consider saving up for a $400-ish floor lamp but it’d have to be one that could light most of a room, not a task light like this one.

I really couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this frog lamp. It is so incredibly kitsch… and not in a good way. What on earth is he doing in the middle of all this classy stuff? For $118 no less.

This place is huge and filled to the brim with products, all styled in little mock rooms like the one above. I love the botanical prints on the wall.

I seem to be drawn to their light fixtures. They had some lovely ones. The one with the human figure for a base is not my style, but I thought it was interesting so I included it. Do you like that dining chair? I really appreciated it’s simple lines and upholstery.

Being a goof.

These terracotta colored busts were certainly interesting. Especially the man with a squirrel on his hat. I wonder if the employee that tied the price tag around the squirrels neck had a good giggle. Can you imagine anyone you know actually having one of these in their home? I’m all about quirky, but not vaguely creepy $173 quirky.


Didn’t catch the price on the Chinoiserie table. There were silk flower arrangements all over the store. I thought this one was particularly pretty. However I can not currently fathom spending $228 on it. Pretty sure I could replicate something similar for much less with craft store blooms.

I attempted to take a full shot of this table lamp, but it came out fuzzy. This is the important part of it anyway. Loved the glass (or acrylic?) ball finial, and I’m always down with a gold finish. I would totally use this lamp… but not for $729. One of the more expensive lamps I saw.

Not everything at Gorman’s is super traditional. There was a pretty substantial section of the store with more contemporary pieces. I thought this sofa with chaise was very nice, and $2,999 is not all that bad for a high quality sofa.

I especially like the chair on the left. Which do you prefer?

This room was kind of bizarre in my opinion. That leopard-print chair might work somewhere, but it ain’t here.

 I was really drawn to the super high-gloss finish on this chest of drawers.

So, in conclusion, Gorman’s is definitely a nice place. They have a lot of products from small accessories to whole bedroom sets. They seem to lean towards the traditional and formal side of things, but they do have a solid offering of more contemporary and modern stuff. The store is nicely laid out and the staff is friendly. The pricing is certainly not for the budget shopper. You might get lucky with a deeply discounted item, but even the cheapest stuff I saw still couldn’t be described as a great deal. If Gorman’s is out of your price range but you liked a lot of what you saw, I say you’d have a good time browsing stores like this if only to glean some inspiration!

The same day I checked out Gorman’s I also stopped in a couple thrift stores! I think my brain needed to see some $2 items after being subjected to all that high-end-ness. I didn’t take as many pictures at the thrift stores but I DID actually buy a few things! I’ll save that for the next installment of Shopping Adventures! (I sound like such a dork saying that but I’m saying it anyway.) ♥

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  • Reply Brian May 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I really enjoyed your review and the picture too. I live in Grand Rapids but also have never shopped at Gorman’s. Is the location you visited where Israel’s used to be? I am looking forward to the future installments of Shopping Adventures.

    • Reply Christina Ebbers May 16, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks! I am uncertain if this Gorman’s location used to be Israel’s, but I do know it is their newest store so it is possible. However, there is still an Israel’s showroom directly next door! Perhaps Israel’s used to own both buildings? Regardless, I believe you are thinking of the correct location! 🙂

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