June 13, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Shinola's Willys store opening in Midtown Detroit

Guests fill Willys Detroit, a fashion, and home and apothecary store in Midtown, for its ribbon cutting ceremony Friday. Willys is the sister store to watch and bicycle maker Shinola. (Photos by Daniel Mears / The Detroit News)

Shinola — the popular upscale watch and bicycle maker — expanded its Midtown footprint Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its sister store, Willys Detroit.

Located at 441 W. Canfield in the Willys Overland Building — which also houses the Shinola flagship store — the 2,900-square-foot Willys will sell clothes, candles and other home goods. The store will open to the public at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“We felt Willys was a great opportunity to augment the growing retail experience in the Midtown district,” Daniel Caudill, Shinola’s creative director, said in a statement. “Together with our neighbors, such as City Bird, Nora, Hugh, Flo Boutique and many others, the groundwork has already begun to transform the area into a true shopping destination that will appeal to a wide variety of consumers."

The store stocks everything from shirts and ties to jewelry and purses. Sue Mosey, president of Midtown Detroit Inc., lauded the company’s commitment to Detroit at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“What they’re doing for Detroit in terms of elevating design, providing local employment and new opportunities is phenomenal, not to mention the great product they’re producing,” she said. “We have long hoped we could have a retail shopping district in Midtown. All along this two-block area now, that’s really coming to fruition.”

Willys will be anchored by four brands from across the country: Filson, a Seattle-based outdoor goods maker; Steven Alan, a New York clothing line; Clare V, a handbag and accessories maker from Los Angeles; and Mollusk, a San Francisco-based surf company.

The shop also features a number of Detroit and Michigan brands, including Detroit Surf Co., and Detroit Rose Candles. Drought, a Detroit-based raw juice company that was previously in the Shinola store, moved into the Willys space, too.

Natasha Miller, a 29-year-old artist from Detroit, was recently hired to work at Willys. Shinola had previously tapped Miller to help produce a black-and-white poetry video about the city.

“Part of the company is to make sure people in the city are employed here,” she said. “I think one thing I’m learning is the great part about Shinola is even if you can’t afford the product, there’s still a way for you to become part of the product.”

In addition to the retail stores, Shinola is partnering with Mosey’s Midtown Detroit Inc., to create a dog park at the corner of Cass and Canfield, as well as a green alley project. The brand has donated a number of clocks to Detroit and erected them at sites like Cobo Center, Ford Field, Belle Isle and Eastern Market.

Shinola moved into Midtown in 2013 when it opened its headquarters in the Taubman Center at the College for Creative Studies. It opened its Canfield store a few months later.

“Not only is Shinola investing in their core business, but they’re really making an investment in the whole retail and restaurant district here,” Mosey said. “Without them as partners, this would be very difficult to accomplish.”

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Jaysond Neill, in charge of visuals at Willys Detroit, wanders past ... (Daniel Mears / The Detroit News)
Various flavors of Drought, an organic, cold-pressed raw juice, available ... (Daniel Mears / The Detroit News)