Saturday, May 23, 2015

Family Fun at the Orchard Lake St. Mary's Polish Country Fair

The Orchard Lake St. Mary's Polish Country Fair
I am not a carnival person. I was as a kid, but I lost my interest in carnival food and fair rides sometime during my twenties. Knowing my daughters would enjoy the Orchard Lake St. Mary's Polish Country Fair, I put my disdain for fairs aside and took my family to the first night of the fair last night.

Traffic was a little heavy near the fair, but we arrived at 6:00 p.m., when rush hour traffic usually is bad on Commerce and Orchard Lake roads. Parking is free on the school's campus, and admission is $5 per person, or $10 per family. To go on the rides, visitors need to buy tickets, but the best deal is a $30 pass that lasts the whole weekend. Visitors can also buy a book of 22 tickets for $25, or individual tickets (that I believe were $1.50 each). Rides cost between 2 tickets for the small kids' rides to 4 tickets for the most popular rides like the Ferris wheel and roller coaster.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Goodbye to Hiller's

The Sanders ice cream stand at Hiller's
As I walked around the Hiller's Market in Commerce Township, something felt off. The staff and customers seemed a little quieter and somewhat subdued. As I approached the checkout, I noticed that my cashier looked upset.

When I offered him my Hiller's card, he stated that the store's rewards program was discontinued. When I asked why, he said that Kroger bought Hiller's earlier that day and was closing his store. Selfishly, my first thought was "No! How can I lose my favorite supermarket?!?!"

Then I realized why my cashier was so upset. He was losing his job while I selfishly was upset about losing my favorite supermarket. I said a few words of encouragement to him, paid for my groceries, and went on my way.

If you've never been to a Hiller's, you have been missing out. I have been to three of their locations and have always found their staff to be helpful and friendly. I also appreciated their efforts to feature Michigan-made products in their stores.

In the short time my family has been back in Michigan, Hiller's has been an important part of our lives. Soon after moving into our new home, my wife came home from Hiller's one night and gushed about how friendly everyone in the store was. Knowing that it was difficult to leave her family in Virginia, I was happy to hear that strangers were making her feel at home.

Just last month, my oldest daughter had to have her bottom two front teeth pulled to make room for her permanent teeth. They were her first baby teeth to go, and her dentist ordered us to go to the Sanders ice cream shop inside Hiller's to help with the swelling. As we sat there eating ice cream for lunch, I was looking forward to future stops with my daughters to get ice cream, after dentist trips, sporting events, or just to spend time with them. I looked forward to reminiscing with my oldest about her first trip to the Sander's ice cream shop.

I did not grow up going to Hiller's, but I was hoping my daughters would. I thank Hiller's employees for always making my family feel at home, and I wish them the best.