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Shop Locally - Made in Detroit | Detroit Highlights

Shopping Locally in Detroit

By Cynthia J. Drake PHOTOS BY Bill Bowen (except where noted)

Aside from all the altruistic reasons —­ like boosting the economy and supporting your neighbors — it’s hard to ignore that shopping local is … well, just plain fun.
    With dozens of new boutiques and products arriving on the scene each year, it’s also easy to discover the latest and greatest D-inspired treasures, from T-shirts to home décor — there’s even Motor City-branded incense.
    And you’ll find plenty of folks on this bandwagon. “People are absolutely wanting to wear their Detroit pride more and more,” said Erin Berline, manager of the Detroit Shoppe. “We are that ‘comeback kid’ like NYC and Vegas both were not so long ago. Those cities have emerged stronger than ever, having rebranded themselves, and we see Detroit following down that same path.”
    Here’s a glimpse of some of the coolest new shops, trinkets and homegrown edibles that embody Detroit. Consider it a preview meant to inspire your inner treasure hunter. Now go shop and find that little piece of Detroit that speaks to you.

Shopping at City Bird


Emily Linn and her brother Andy Linn own two boutiques in Detroit’s Midtown: City Bird, which opened in 2009, and Nest, which debuted in 2011.
    City Bird showcases Detroit- and Michigan-themed items produced on site, as well as housewares, accessories, paper goods, cards and jewelry made by more than 200 artists and designers.
    “We’ve found that customers, both locals and visitors, really respond to locally themed items,” Emily Linn said. “I think that people are both fascinated with the city’s history and excited by the potential of its future and are eager to celebrate it.”

460 W. Canfield St.
Detroit, 48201 DD
Shopping Locally at Pure Detroit


“We call ourselves the original local culture shop,” manager Ryan Hooper said of Pure Detroit, a collective of three shops and cafes that originally began 15 years ago by an urban planner and architect duo, Shawn Santo and Kevin Borsay. “We are curating the local culture of the city in a retail format.”
    Pure Detroit sells hand-screened locally designed T-shirts, Detroit books and food. But the highlight of shopping at Pure Detroit, Hooper said, is the experience of visiting Detroit’s most prominent and architecturally significant buildings. This year, to celebrate the brand’s 15th anniversary, Pure Detroit is offering free tours of the Fisher and Guardian buildings on weekends (visit their Facebook page for dates and times).
    “Detroit feels so much like an active, thriving city,” said Hooper, adding that people want to celebrate their connection to the city. “I think it’s a blue-collar thing, in the same way that a lot of blue-collar workers in the city take pride in their job, they take pride in their city.”

Guardian Building
(in the lobby)
500 Griswold St.
Detroit, 48226 DD
Fisher Building
(in the lobby)
3011 W. Grand Blvd.
Detroit, 48202 DD

GM Renaissance Center
Tower 400
Detroit, 48243 DD



The Detroit Shoppe


Located in the Somerset Collection, the Detroit Shoppe offers up nostalgic favorites for diehard Detroiters, as well as “expatriates” of the city. Some favorites include seven flavors of Faygo, Vernors, Better Made potato chips and Sanders chocolates.
    “Detroit is gritty, urban and tough, yet cool, hip, artistic and industrious,” said Erin Berline, manager of the Detroit Shoppe. “This is being embraced more and more by not only Detroiters, but by people from other states and countries. Detroit is becoming the current ‘it’ city on apparel.”

The Somerset Collection
2800 W. Big Beaver Road
Troy, 48084 O
(248) 816-5470

Cobo Center
(Open on concourse during meetings, conventions and trade shows)
1 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, 48226 DD

Locally crafted Detroit treats

Pack up a care package for yourself. Start out with Better Made chips and nuts from Germack Pistachio Company.

Add a pop — Vernors, Faygo Red Pop or Rock & Rye are all faves at the Detroit Shoppe.

For dessert, grab a jar of Sanders hot fudge, a sinfully thick treat.


The Rust Belt Shopping Market


Beats thump from an in-house DJ booth, the fragrance of freshly roasted coffee beans dances in the air. It’s just another Saturday morning at Rust Belt Market, Detroit’s newest collective of artisans and collectors.
    Opened in 2011 in a defunct 15,000-square-foot Old Navy building, Rust Belt Market is filled with more than 50 Michigan-owned shops, each selling handmade, locally produced or high-quality vintage items (think a brick-and-mortar version of Etsy).
    “The Rust Belt is a hub of creativity,” said owner Tiffany Best of her Saturday/Sunday marketplace. “Detroit is jampacked with skilled makers and creative types — many of whom are starting over after the loss of a job but are now successfully and happily self-employed. One of our goals is to help artists make a living at what they are good at and love to do.”

22801 Woodward Ave.
Ferndale, 48220


We’d be remiss not to list a few other interesting addresses that have serious Detroit flavor when it comes to atmosphere and products sold. Check ’em out. Some are nostalgic, others are newer entries to the scene.

Detroit Athletic Co.
Carries the largest collection of Detroit-based sportswear, collectibles and throwback products in the world. Going strong after three decades in business and a stone’s throw from the hallowed ground of historic Tiger Stadium.

1744 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, 48216 DD

Gibraltar Trade Center
A weekend marketplace like no other. Lots of Detroit-based small business owners selling every conceivable type of item.

237 N. River Road
Mount Clemens, 48043 M
(586) 465-6440

Goods Detroit
Local artist garb and miscellaneous stuff is sold here, but what’s really cool is the “made while you wait” personalized service. Design your own D-centric T, hoodie, onesie or pet-friendly item.

The Park Shelton
15 E. Kirby
Detroit, 48202 DD

Detroit Mercantile Company
A newer kid on the shopping block, this space is friendly, quirky and familiar all at the same time. Lots of books, artwork and apparel for sale. Be sure to gander at the crazy, cool antique map of Detroit hanging on the wall. It’s mesmerizing.

Eastern Market
3434 Russell St.
Detroit, 48207 DD




Local Detroit Gift Ideas

Michigan Cork Coasters Sturdy and cut in the shape of the Mitten State, these cork cutouts are perfect for your favorite bartender’s bar.
($18 set of 4, ilovecitybird.com)

Detroit Skyline Tile For a gift you can’t find anywhere else, head over to Pewabic Pottery, where you’ll find items for any budget, like the beautiful keepsake Detroit Skyline Tile.
($20, pewabicstore.org)

Made in Detroit T-shirts If you’ve seen the tongue-in-cheek “Motor City Kitties” logo, that’s these guys. The Made in Detroit T from Kid Rock’s company gives props to the city’s industrial roots and its resilience through hard times.
($25, madeindetroit.com)

Valentine Vodka Clean and slightly sweet. If you like your drink on the harder side, Valentine Vodka should be on your shopping list. It’s distilled and bottled in metro Detroit and has won a slew of gold medals in worldwide spirits competitions.

Garden Fresh Chips and Salsa
The gift that keeps giving. Take one chip, dip it and eat it and you’ll quickly want to repeat the process. From humble beginnings in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, Garden Fresh is now one of America’s top salsa brands.

McClure’s Pickles and Bloody Mary Mixer Eat and drink up. McClure’s pickled cukes are extra crunchy and their Bloody Mary Mixer is just the right amount of hot and spicy. So good, you’ll forgo buying by the jar and go right for a case of 12. (mcclurespickles.com available at Nest, ilovecitybird.com)



The cheapest (and best) souvenirs are great memories. Wander around Detroit’s greatest sights and fall in love with the city all over again. Key photo ops include the Joe Louis Fist and the Spirit of Detroit, the International RiverWalk, Motown Historical Museum (outside photos only), the Heidelberg Project and Comerica Park. Best places to take pics of the Detroit skyline: Hart Plaza, Belle Isle and across the Detroit River on the Windsor riverfront.



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Travel Tip

“Mexicantown is a must! Los Galanes, LaGloria bakery and the Honeybee market are just a few of our personal faves!” – Melissa C.

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