Attention, Detroit artists, retailers, pop-up shops, entrepreneurs and proprietors of all stripes: Wanna sell some stuff without paying rent and enjoying some free merchandising and marketing support from the likes of The Forbes Company, Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures?
Then have I a deal for you. Besides hosting the wickedly inspired CityLoft project for the second year, the above-mentioned retail and business gurus are ponying up a bunch of cash to host “Downtown Detroit Days,” one part retail theater, one part party and one part just plain opportunity for Detroit, Midtown, Downtown and anyone who cares to be around town.
Starting June 28, the shop that moves some of the best high-end stores from Troy to Detroit will again emerge, this time landing at 1261 Woodward Avenue between Grand River and State. Across the street atop the Premier Parking Garage, up to 40 retailers and artists – THIS COULD BE YOU – will operate mini-versions of their stores in what’s being calling the “Downtown Detroit Days Marketplace.”
For three awesome weekends (June 28-30, July 26-28 and Aug. 16-18), this block of Woodward will be hopping – literally – like it did back in the summers of the 1950s through 1980s, when the Detroit Downtown Days began, said Linda McIntosh, spokeswoman for The Forbes Company/Somerset Collection.
Ahem. Bears repeating…Free…Retail space…Tons of people…Big event…You’re invited.
Last year, Forbes took up nearly 5,000 square feet along Woodward and brought hundreds of people into the city to shop at CityLoft. This year, the company has upped the space to 6,000 square feet. Forbes moved it down the road a touch, building out another space to the tune of something like $300,000. Yes, please, more of this investment stuff. We likey.
Then the company got excellent names such as Aveda, BCBG Max Azria, Brooks Brothers, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Coach, Intermix, Lego, Lilly Pulitzer, the Limited, Kate Spade, Pottery Barn, Saks Fifth Avenue and Vera Bradley to join the fun. Come on – you know you want Detroit to make it city colors Lily’s pink and green. Or maybe one of Vera’s fun paisley prints.
“We had such a great time last year,” McIntosh said. “We think (the addition of Downtown Detroit Days) is a great way to say ‘Thank you’ to the city.”
There will be a free shuttle between The Somerset Collection in Troy to downtown so people can check out CityLoft. New this year: A shuttle between Midtown’s shops, hospitals and institutions of higher learning (those beloved Eds and Meds) so everyone there can enjoy the ride into downtown shopping bliss. McIntosh said the good Midtown folks asked for a shuttle, so one will be provided. Woot!
Then Forbes partnered up with Rock and Quicken to host this Downtown Detroit Days. That’s a nice kind of friend to have, Detroit. I’m going to just say it: Thank you, Dan Gilbert et al. You’re making some strong moves with your money, influence and power. You’re jump-starting a city that needed a big guy or two to do just about everything that you’re doing. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. I’m just good with what you’re doing and wanted you to know it.
Also, during each weekend, works by Detroit-area artists as well as Detroit retail memorabilia will be on display in Woodward Avenue storefront windows, live entertainment and modeling will be held at CityLoft and the Downtown Detroit Days Marketplace, and “secret shoppers” will pass out gift certificates to Detroit restaurants.
And opening this summer’s final CityLoft/Downtown Detroit Days will be a pre-Woodward Dream Cruise celebration and classic car parade on Thursday, Aug. 16. The parade will travel from Cobo Center to the 1200 block of Woodward, culminating in a sock hop complete with live entertainment and dance contests.
So let’s review.
—CityLoft: 1261 Woodward – the centerpiece of Downtown Detroit Days.
—Downtown Detroit Days: an event for Detroit artists, retailers and their friends to sell stuff and get people to notice them, talk about them and shop their other location(s).
—Free shuttles to get you to and fro.
Carry on, good people. I like where you’re going with this.
Retailers and artists wishing to participate in each CityLoft/Downtown Detroit Days event should visit the “contact us” tab on the Somerset Collection web site (www.thesomersetcollection.com) before June 15 (that’s a week from now, people. Stop procrastinating). In the subject line, write “CityLoft participation.” Linda McIntosh will get with you post haste.