Ann Arbor's Caravan Gift Shop raising money to stay open after 93 years of business

Business is usually booming for the nickel arcade in an arbor with the warmer weather and graduation right around the corner but because of the coronavirus, it's completely empty and could actually make one store that's been here for 93 years close its doors for good. 

“I don't want to give it up I will fight to the bitter end to make it 100 years in business, Rhonda Gilpins said.”

The Caravan Gift shop has been through a lot in its 93 years. It survived the great depression and the 2008 recession. 

For Rhonda Gilpins family owning one of Ann Arbors' oldest retail stores is now a family affair. Four generations work at this usually bustling local business but for the first time, it’s completely empty because of the Coronavirus.

“I feel great sadness, I spent the other morning crying about it I know I shouldn't but it's hard not to it's my business it's my family it's our city our community it's the world,” Gilpins said.

The Caravan Gift Shop is a community staple and over the years loyal customers kept coming back. 

I know everyone's families and their kids and now their kids are having kids so I'm pretty much three generations with most families in Ann Arbor,” she said.

But that turned out to be a double-edged sword because the Gilpins never set up shop online. Now they’re personalizing greeting cards and doing what they can until the crisis passes. 

Meanwhile, the community is also giving what they can with a GoFundMe and Gilpins grateful for every dollar that’s going towards saving this slice of Ann Arbor history. 

“Thank you for 93 years of support and I hope to be here for a full hundred,” she said. 

To help the Caravan Gift Shop, click here