Somerset City Loft lights up downtown Detroit again! It was a bustling, exciting and action-filled morning as I walked onto the scene. Laughter rang out as store-owners belted out directions and rushed to get merchandise displayed. Within minutes the large room was colorful, neatly arranged and ready for shoppers!
It seemed like home again as I walked around the area, for it had been less than two years since my upscale boutique had closed its doors across the street in the Compuware Complex, and went online. I could feel the anticipation, expectation and wonderment, not only in the Somerset store owners, but in myself as well. Who would come? What would they buy? What new face would become a lasting memory?
My first stop was Macy’s Department store. Roma, supervisor at the Somerset Macy’s, was eager to answer the question “What is the most exciting item you have on display?” Without hesitation, she pointed out a beautifully designed sculpture-like item by Michael Aram.
Since I was unfamiliar with the designer, she gave me a quick explanation. He is a home décor designer and one can find his picture frames, candleholders, serve-ware and other assortment of items at Macy’s and Neiman Marcus. She also shared that a book-signing at the store in Troy is in the works for December. Maybe you will want to check him out.
Next stop, Pottery Barn Kids a place for unique and fun kid stuff. Store-owner Blaine was not only displaying merchandise in Detroit, he lives in the upscale neighborhood in Detroit called Indian Village. He talked about his experiences as a retailer, and how the particular corner of downtown where the Somerset event was held, is growing—new stores popping up within a few months.
Leaving Pottery Barn Kids, my eyes fell on a bracelet on display at Landau. Kelly quickly removed it from the case and handed it to me. Wow! What a piece! She explained that the company has been selling fine jewelry for 34 years and has price points of $19.99 to hundreds of dollars—something for everyone.
A unique moissanite ring was asking for a purchase, but I resisted the temptation. It came with a life-time guarantee and was more than exquisite! I have lots of costume jewelry—even sell it in my online store, but I do not have a piece of Landau. Well, perhaps in the future . . . .
Back to business, Vera Bradley had a large assortment of purses, eyeglass cases and luggage. I love their stuff. Several pieces have found their way into my closet in the form of gifts from my grandson and a friend of his. She works at the store in Troy, and this has provided me the opportunity to attend some of the promotions given by the company. Super place!
You are probably wondering why I was at the Somerset City Lofts. In my excitement, I forgot to share that with you. I am an author and a member of the Board of Directors of Detroit Writers Guild. This organization been in existence since 1983 and its founder, Peggy Moore sought to “improve literacy awareness, launch new writers into the commercial market and serve (the) community through the promotion of history.” http://www.detroitwritersguild.com/ Ron Sanders, a Guild member, was having a presentation of his book Concerned, but Not Consumed with Store Owner Suzanne Kirkland of Paradise Pen. I was there to support them. Paradise Pen and the Detroit Writers Guild have formed a partnership that focuses on finding venues that allow local unknown authors to acquire visibility and aid in marketing store products.
Have you ever written anything with one of those pens? If not, you’re missing out. They are smooth-writing, durable, easy to handle and “neat.” You have to get one. A customer tried out one, went on her way, but later returned and made a purchase. I shared the same information about the pens with her that I am sharing with you. Plan a visit to Paradise Pen, either in Detroit or Troy. You won’t be disappointed.
Somerset Loft Company Store http://www.paradisepen.com/
Interesting Downtown Detroit People
My “retail face” took over as I mingled with Loft people. Lucretia Wright, an administrative police officer of Detroit looking more like a fashion model than a police woman, had an interesting story to tell. She worked for Police Chief Ralph Godbee and had served as security for Somerset City Loft the preceding year. However, because of her ability to connect with people, she became somewhat of a liaison for Somerset and the community. Another security officer, John Whitely worked with Ron while they both were part of the Detroit Police Department. It was heart-warming to see how they welcomed the chance meeting to renew friendship.
A real “cool dude” was DJ Gary from radio station 107.5. Finally, I have to share the “talk” with a gentleman from San Antonio, Texas who was there with his daughters. They were participating in an acrobatic gymnastics competition at Cobo Arena. Who knew such a competition existed? Seeing my surprise at such a meet, he explained that the 2012 Acrobatic Gymnastic World Age Group had met in April of 2012 at Disney World, and was the first such meet outside of Europe. We have several young women aspiring to become champions, including his daughters.
Other City Lofts Retailers
There were many retailers participating in the Somerset City Lofts Event. Some were first-timers while others were there for a second time. One of the first-timers was Tiffany & Co. As my eyes moved swiftly around the giant building, I spotted Eddie Bauer, Lancome, Brooks Brothers and many more. The vision is that the City Lofts will continue to expand and grow.
My “chats” with merchants revealed that the Event is the brainchild of Troy Somerset Mall marketing manager Linda McIntosh. I was not provided the opportunity and privilege to meet her—hopefully one day that will happen.
Partnerships among cities can be just as productive as partnerships among people and businesses. The keywords are growth, development and positive communication. Somerset City Lofts and Detroit are proving that! They have set aside boundaries in thought and in geography . . . and made it happen. As we applaud them with our hearts and minds, let’s also use our wallets. This writer looks forward to writing another article about this event—another time.