Upscale Shopping Comes to Downtown Detroit; Will Demand Follow?

Today marks the grand opening of the Somerset Collection: CityLoft, a grand experiment by what many consider suburban Detroit’s most prestigious shopping center to open a satellite location in the city. Somerset will be showcasing several of its stores in downtown Detroit — often considered a difficult environment for retailers — for a limited time.

Beginning on July 28 and concluding in September, the CityLoft location will be open the last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of each month. Displayed in the heart of Detroit, the stores of CityLoft will be located in an area of 4,000 square feet on the first floor of Merchants Row along the 1400 block of Woodward Avenue.

The project represents a $500,000 investment for the Somerset Collection and its sponsors, which include Bank of America, Cadillac, Forbes Co. and Quicken Loans.

Stores participating in the CityLoft project include:

  • Neiman Marcus
  • Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry
  • Anne Fontaine
  • Brookstone
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Eileen Fisher
  • Kate Spade Max Mara
  • North Face
  • Restoration Hardware
  • Swarovski
  • Sweet Factory
  • Vera Bradley

You may ask, “Who spearheaded this idea? Where will the proceeds go?” According to Ed Nakfoor, a public relations consultant stationed in Birmingham who represents the  Somerset Collection, the concept was based on Somerset’s “You Belong Here” campaign, created to promote Detroit and the metropolitan region.

As a result, the Somerset Collection opened the Detroit Shoppe, a store featuring past and present Detroit merchandise, during the holiday season last year. This store received such a positive response that, according to Nakfoor, it provided the foundation for CityLoft, which will donate a fraction of each weekend’s proceeds to Improve Detroit, a new fund whose goal is to support Detroit neighborhood groups and nonprofit organizations.

The big question, of course, is whether shoppers will support upscale retail in downtown Detroit, which hasn’t seen much success in that segment since Hudson’s closed its flagship department store in 1983.

We very much enjoy promoting efforts that support Detroit. Will you be going? What are your favorite ways to support the Motor City?

Photo Credit: Fellowship of the Rich

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  1. pretty cool if you ask me,. you can just feel detroit is on the way to its up and up luxury style such as a new York…. c’mon people   young people lets make Detroit a better place..

  2. I went yesterday and it was an awesome experience.  I loved being chauffeured in the Escalades and while each store only had a small assortment of merchandise, there was a nice variety of styles and price points.  I will definitely being going back and think that there is definitely a demand for this.  The place was packed!!

  3. Thanks so much “Commenters”,
    It is so great to know that there are consumers and Metro-Detroit residents who are willing to support efforts to make downtown Detroit an attraction for more than just employers.

    –Please keep encouraging others to visit 🙂

  4. What a GREAT idea! Your blog was very informative and well written. Something to be said about a Howard University Student!

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