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Posted on Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Gift and novelty shop markets itself to patrons as 'stocking stuffer capital'

By Katrease Stafford


Shoppers look for last minute gifts at the Rocket at 122 W. Michigan Ave.

Courtney Sacco |

The Rocket, a gift and novelty shop in Ypsilanti, is preparing for last minute shoppers looking for unique presents.

Co-owner Eli Morrissey said the store sees more customers around the holiday season.

"This is the time of year we do most of our business," Morrissey said. "We broaden our hours and open earlier and close later. This is when it gets crazy in here. During the holidays, we might get between 200 and 300 people that pass through a day and that's underestimating."

Two years ago, the Rocket moved into a larger location. The store originally was located in a 700-square-foot space at 103 W. Michigan Ave., which now houses Model Cave.

The Rocket is now located at 122 W. Michigan Ave. in a 2,000-square-foot space right across the street from the old location.


Rocket co-owner Eli Morrissey calls the Rocket, "Stuffing Capital."

Courtney Sacco |

People would come in the (old) store and kind of get stuffed in the store," Morrissey said. "You would see people walk out and now we have this space where people can kind of walk around. That's what really helped."

The move has allowed the store to be able to offer more products and accommodate more space for potential shoppers.

"We've added more stuff, more candy, more toys and t-shirts," he said. "We're broadening our gift line."

Throughout the year, customers range from parents who bring in their infant children to college students and the elderly looking for items that they remember from long ago.

"It brings people back to when they were maybe a child, but it does also draw a lot of college and high school students," Morrissey said.

Morrissey refers to his business as the "stocking stuffer capital" because the store has a lot of smaller gifts that people usually look for, as well as nostalgic candy.

"People buy a lot of smaller stuff for stockings," he said. "We really are a gift store and have so many toys and collectible items."

The store usually is decked out in funky Christmas decorations, Morrissey said.

"When we first opened, we did a lot of crazy Christmas decorations like hot pink stencil trees," he said. "Everyone brings in their own holiday music because we have to get our shoppers into the Christmas mood."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 5:44 a.m.

A Washtenaw County Treasure. Come on, Ann Arbor, go east! This is the most fun place NOT in our town!


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 4:08 a.m.

The Rocket is fine if you want to spend 12 dollars for a coffee mug.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 5:42 a.m.

Yes, Yes I do!! And just how much does a coffee mug sell for at Kerrytown or Briarwood??? Just what I thought! This store has a huge inventory to track and I cannot imagine the owners are wealthy from the profits ...BUY LOCAL!! even if the stuff is imported. Have you seen the country of origin on the oveprices stuff at the mall?? rarely USA.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

SusanRk-it's not just candy. Check out the store sometime. Lots of neat stuff for even you.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

yeah, all the Chinese made goods you could ever want.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

Love love love the Rocket!! And they really do have something for everyone!!

Gretchen Ridenour

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

I like to give gift certificates to the Rocket because they always bring smiles on Christmas morning. It is a great store!


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

With all the sweets that kids get around Xmas I personally think filling their Stocking with candy that adds to the weight issues of are youth is something to be considered. Some great stocking stuffers to consider: fruit, something handmade, journals, foreign coins, a book, a treasure map to something buried, a guide for trees or birds, a map to local parks, tickets to a performance, or something meaningful but make it something that adds to the child mind not weight. Though the rocket does have some worthy gifts and is worth a trip.

Linda Peck

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

SusanRk, I like your ideas. Reminds me of my Christmas stockings. Oranges, nuts, a magazine, a lipstick, pencils, etc. Loved the stocking.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

You're kidding, right?


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

If as a child I had woken up to a stocking filled with dried fruit and a map to the local parks instead of at least a little bit of candy I think I would have felt Santa didn't like me very much. I have been in this store and it is a real trip back in time. Lots of things you won't find anywhere else or never even knew exsisted in the first place. If you want something really cool to give just go in and look around for awhile and I bet you find at least a dozen things you want.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

4 lemon ZOTZ eaten at once can be a mind expanding experience! Seriously, sharing a ouple of minutes and a couple of memories with your kid or grandkid while eating a piece of retro candy is a good thing.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

*looks around for a soapbox. sees it's already in use* ...


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 11:57 a.m.

**rolling eyes**


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.