Detroit Shops

Shop neighborhood
2135 Michigan Ave., Corktown
Owner Gail Kaye and her husband John work with local artisans and dealers to fill their vintage store with a variety of Detroit-based gifts, décor, and furniture. You’ll find a great selection of jewelry and delightful repurposed items, such as lamps made from old speakers. Wood paneling and paned garage doors warm up the industrial space, which is located in the revitalized Corktown next to Mercury Bar and across the street from Slow’s and Sugar House.
City Bird
460 W. Canfield St., Midtown
Nestled in the Cass Corridor (neighbor to Shinola and sister store, Nest), this boutique occupies an adorably revamped industrial space and is full of independent and locally made artisanal housewares, jewelry (generally affordable, chic, and perfect for wearing everyday, like moon phase stud earrings), paper goods (screen-printed greeting cards), apparel, accessories, and home decor. Opened in 2009 by siblings and seventh-generation Detroiters, Andy and Emily Linn, this is a great place to pick up gifts or souvenirs anyone would love.
Détroit is the New Black
1426 Woodward Ave., Downtown
Roslyn Karamoko started gifting T-shirts that said "Détroit is the New Black" to friends and family before turning it into her full-time job—and a retail concept. (The accent over the “e” is a nod to Detroit’s French origins.) She opened the hybrid boutique and art gallery on a rapidly developing stretch of Downtown in July 2016, selling everything from DITNB emblazoned T-shirts, tote bags, and sweatshirts, plus dresses from Tracey Reese, leather goods from Douglas & Co., and cotton T-shirts from Lazlo. There’s artwork too—an installation by local artist Leon Dickey is currently on view, and the space hosts a rotating roster of cultural events like poetry night and group art exhibitions meant for visitors and the local community alike.
441 W. Canfield St., Midtown
The Seattle-based outfitter, which has been churning out durable camping gear and wares since 1897, maintains its cabin-in-the-woods aesthetic (think buffalo plaid blankets, leather club chairs, and timeworn wooden tables) with the opening of its first Michigan storefront. (In colder months, they’ll fire up with wood burning Ziegler stove for shoppers, too.) For now, the store predominately carries men’s clothing—wool vests, beanies, and leather goods—but they’re planning on carrying more women’s items down the line. There’s also the complete assortment of iconic bags, like the original twill briefcase, for which the brand is probably best known.
John K. King Used & Rare Books
901 W. Lafayette Blvd., Corktown
Housed in a former glove factory since the early 1980's—which explains the oversized hand painted sign across the building's exterior—John K. King Used & Rare Books shop is truly next level. Wandering the enormous, overflowing rows of shelves that wind from the first floor to the fourth is a dream-like experience for any book lover. And what's really crazy is that the mind-boggling number of books here (Mr. King, who began trading in 1965, has about a million books in stock, and this is by far his largest home for them) are entirely uncomputerized collections—meaning they are organized wholly by hand making it a wild treasure hunt. Trying to find a Sylvia Plath? The team knows just where to go in the poetry section, and what edition of which book was recently taken off the shelf by a reader who came before. The fiction section on the third floor alone merits days of exploration and many returned visits—the store's collection is ever shifting. The rarest of the titles are kept separately—those are actually searchable online, so you can have any special requests for books to be pulled ready in…
John Varvatos
1500 Woodward Ave., Downtown
Native son John Varvatos returns to his roots with this downtown location, his first in the Midwest, inspired by the his flagship menswear store on the Bowery in New York City. Music—a little bit Motown, a little bit of rock ’n’ roll—undoubtedly influences the store’s design, which sells rare vinyl records and vintage audio equipment alongside his minimalist designs and custom Chuck Taylors. And like his store on the Bowery, the space also features a stage for performances. (The store celebrated its opening with a show by Varvatos’s friend and fellow Detroit native, Alice Cooper.)
460 W. Canfield St., Midtown
Siblings and seventh-generation Detroiters, Andy and Emily Linn, opened this home goods boutique in 2011, in the Cass Corridor (next door to its sister store, City Bird). It’s since become a destination for unique home decor pieces and perfect, locally and artisanally made gifts, from candles and soap to terrariums, air plants, and cool kitchen accessories (mug, flasks, storage jars, wine glasses), all stocked general-store-style on wooden shelves. It’s the perfect place to pick up a gift for any occasion (especially a housewarming), though it's hard to leave without buying something for yourself.
4240 Cass Ave., Midtown
Just looking around this carefully curated shop will put you at ease: beautiful Japanese and Scandinavian-inspired housewares and accessories line the walls of the small, bright space. Perfect for finding gifts, Nora stocks a selection of items—from local to international designers alike—meant for everyday use. Furniture, leather goods, and contemporary wall art accompany an impressive selection of modern tableware, including glasses and utensils from Iittala and Hasami porcelain.
Peoples Records
1464 Gratiot Ave., Eastern Market
Next door to Trinosophes café is People's Records, one of the most notable record stores in the country. Run by longtime bassist and soul DJ, Brad Hales, Peoples specializes in soul (the collection of random, second-hand soul 45s here is extraordinary), but also carries rare jazz, R&B, and rock. Peoples has been around for more than a dozen years, surviving a fire, moving locations multiple times (they have a shop closer to Ferndale, too), meaning that Hales has amassed more than records in his time. The store is home to posters and old photographs, but he also opened a music archive museum attached to the other side of Trinosophes that draws from his deeper collection of artifacts and highlights musicians from Detroit's/Michigan's history. MAHS (Michigan Audio Heritage Society) can be thought of in juxtaposition to the Motown Museum—the exhibitions at MAHS bring to light less well known music contemporary to Motown, whereas at the Motown Museum you'll of course see some of the most commercially successful artists.
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