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Sunday December 15, 2019
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Sleeping Tiger Imports

New Age arrives at Briarwood

by Sabine Bickford

From the November, 2019 issue

Also new at Briarwood as of October is Sleeping Tiger Imports. District manager Peggy Bachinski is relaxed and cool in a tie-dye shirt as she walks around describing the store's many New Age-style trinkets and artworks. The space, formerly home to the now-departed Soma Intimates, now houses shelves upon shelves packed with Buddha figurines, crystals, framed and preserved insects, samurai sword replicas, glass pipes, dreamcatchers, Chinese baoding balls, and more. "Everything is just kind of unique," says Bachinski. "There's nothing like us anywhere." Though incense and crystals can be found in many places, you'd be hard-pressed to find another store selling Arctic mukluks side-by-side with a replication of the Hylian Shield from the Legend of Zelda franchise.

Bachinski says owner Tim Szubinski travels around the world to select items for the chain's thirteen mall locations. "He either handpicks what he chooses or designs [and commissions] what he chooses," says Bachinski. The predecessor to the current Sleeping Tiger was a single store in Arizona, where shops full of local and interesting cultural artifacts abound, and when Szubinski moved to Michigan he saw an opportunity in a relatively unclaimed market. Szubinski was jailed (with work release) for ten months in 2016 after state police found that Sleeping Tiger was selling unlicensed clothing which included logos for John Deere, Monster Energy drinks, and the MLB (particularly notorious for prosecuting unlicensed products). Szubinski denied knowledge of the counterfeit items, but he assured the court all future products would be licensed, and there are few logos to be seen in the current iteration of Sleeping Tiger.

Bachinski says some of the store's most popular items are their house-made incense and dried herbs, and many collectors come in to select from the extensive collection of porcelain figurines. DBachinski's favorite item? "Tie-dye, always," she laughs, gesturing to a rack of shirts.

Sleeping Tiger Imports, 100 Briarwood Cir. (Briarwood mall). (616) 453-6333. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.     (end of article)


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