Shinola Detroit opens Ann Arbor store in former gallery
Ann Arbor — The brown paper that has lined the windows for months has been peeled off to reveal the long-anticipated Shinola Detroit: Ann Arbor.
The high-end watch and bicycle retailer opened its doors last week at its downtown Ann Arbor store.
A handful of bikes are on display including some in the windows. Several watches are featured in cases on the showroom floor, while others are out in the open in various groupings, according to The Ann Arbor News.
A bookcase full of leather notebooks of varying sizes lines one wall. Other displays feature sporting goods like leather basketballs and footballs. Leather baseballs and gloves are also for sale.
“There’s a lot of stuff available that we don’t sell online or at other stores that we only sell in our stores,” said Daniel Caudill the creative director for Shinola. “There’s a lot of cool things that we dedicate just for certain areas.”
The 4,000-square-foot store occupies two floors in the building with 1,900 square feet used for retail and the remaining 2,100 for a downstairs lounge that complements the upstairs coffee shop.
“It’s not a huge store and we wanted to have the coffee component of it,” Caudill said. “We like for people to come in and see the brand and understand that it’s not about selling them a watch and getting them out the door.
“It’s about showing them what we’re doing and the factories we’re building and the jobs we’re creating. This helps facilitate that.”
The store will also be home to a satellite location for Birmingham-based Commonwealth Coffee.
More than 40 seats are available in the downstairs lounge.
The exposed brick foundation of the building in the basement was something Shinola considered when deciding what to do with the room because it’s something that couldn’t be replicated elsewhere.
“It would be such a waste that we decided to make it into a lounge at the store so people can get a coffee and come hang out downstairs,” Caudill said.
Along with seating, a bar has been built downstairs that will only be utilized during special events and parties thrown at Shinola.
“I think Ann Arbor is a perfect cross section of who our customer is.”
Caudill said the company had plenty of other areas in the city where it could have opened up but felt the former Selo/Shevel Gallery was too good to pass up even if it meant a longer building time than what was desired.
“This building was going through a major renovation and it meant we had to open up way later than we could have,” Caudill said. “Instead of just trying to get that quick sale, we’d rather go into that right space that fits the brand and this building is the right place for us to be for the long term.”
Caudill also said the company was impressed with the efforts of building owner Reza Rahmani to renovate it and still keep the historic façade on the front of the building.
Shinola announced it was bringing a store to Ann Arbor in December but Caudill said the company has been considering Ann Arbor for well over a year. The company’s journals are produced at a facility in the city so company executives were familiar with Ann Arbor long before they decided to expand.
“So many different types of people come to stores and they shop and are fans of the brand,” Caudill said. “I think Ann Arbor is a perfect cross section of who our customer is.
“It’s young and it’s old, it’s business and it’s students. It’s people who appreciate quality and want to know where the products are made.”
Work began to renovate the space in February and the company hung one of its iconic clocks outside the store last month.
Now that the doors are open, Caudill said he’s anxious to see the customers and to share the Shinola experience with them.
“I’m excited to be here. Ann Arbor is such a beautiful place,” he said.
The Detroit-based watch maker and bicycle shop was opened by founder Tom Kartsotis in 2011 and is owned by Dallas-based Bedrock Manufacturing and Swiss watch components producer Ronda.
It operates stores around the world including locations in Manhattan, Chicago, Los Angeles and London.
The store is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.