Spice Merchants

14 09 2008
  • 401 N. 5th Ave #2C
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • Website
  • (734) 332-5500

(I’ve updated this review after Kelly pointed out I had the wrong name..It’s right now and I’ve found more info on the web.)

The Ann Arbor Spice House in the Kerrytown Shops

The Spice Merchants in the Kerrytown Shops

The Spice Merchants was another incredible find in Ann Arbor.  After walking around the Farmer’s Market (review HERE), we headed inside the Kerrytown Shops to see what that was all about.  We didn’t find much on the list of businesses next to the elevator, but there was one shop on the second floor that I wanted to check out.

I’m assuming this is a fairly new store because there’s no information about it anywhere on the web.  Even the Kerrytown Shops website lists the store as being vacant.  It’s definitely not vacant. It’s filled floor to ceiling with spices and not your run of the mill, everyday spices.  There were things in that store I’ve only seen mail order.

Along the walls, the spices are stored in bulk in glass jars.  You’re asked not to handle the jars, but for the more popular spices, there are bags of prepackaged spices hanging near the bulk.  If you want something that’s not already packaged or want more, an employee will package it for you.   In the middle of the store there are racks of spice rubs.  Same deal as the bulk spices except this time they add shakers of the rub to the display.

So, what did I find that I couldn’t live without?  Well, nothing really.  I can live without a lot of things even though I really want them.  One of the ones I had a hard time not buying was Ancho Chili powder.  I use this stuff a lot.  I found it cheaply at a Mexican grocery store back in Bloomington, IL and I stocked up before moving, but I’m starting to run out.  Two oz of the powder cost almost $3 though and I can do just as good by buying dried ancho chili’s and grinding them myself thanks to the spice grinder my girlfriend bought me last year.  The other thing that I stared at for a while were the sea salts.  There were probably a dozen different kinds.  I really wanted to get some grey salt, but again, the price turned me off.  It’s nothing I need even though I know it would make things taste better. 

As we were leaving, we noticed a whole wall of tea leaves.  I don’t drink tea and I’ve never brewed the stuff in my life, but there were a lot of different flavors of that as well.

The Spice Merchants was incredible in two ways.  They had an incredible selection of spices, but they were incredibly expensive.  I know good spices make a difference, but what I found were more special occasion spices and not everyday spices.  I’ll just keep going to American International Bulk Foods (review HERE) where I can get the spices I need for a much cheaper price.




4 responses

14 09 2008

Funny- I was just in Ann Arbor yesterday as well and stopped at the farmer’s market and Kerrytown, and later to Zingerman’s. It was nice to see such a bustling area in the rain. Sweetwater’s Cafe was nice and cozy inside Kerrytown.

I too saw the Spice House inside Kerrytown and also noticed a booth at the Farmer’s Market that said Saugatuck Spice Merchants. Figuring they were related I found this website https://secure.spicemerchants.biz/sm/ and sure enough, they list the Ann Arbor location. I didn’t have time to peruse the store but I’ll be checking out their website for sure. Too bad they are so pricey as you say!

regards, Kelly

14 09 2008
Mid-Michigan Dining

There was some hard to find stuff that I would consider buying there like smoked spanish and smoked sweet paprika, but for everyday spices, I’d go somewhere else and buy in bulk…hell, even Whole Foods where you can buy in bulk much cheaper.

15 09 2008

Yes, I agree… I would probably go to Penzey’s first since I’ve read so many positive reviews and they seem to have a good turnover. I buy most of my spices in bulk at Whole Foods or the indian grocery stores to save money.

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