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American Girl dolls now have a place in Metro Detroit to get their hair done and ears pierced.

American Girl held a soft opening Friday for a temporary retail location at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi. A grand opening will feature special events Saturday and Sunday.

During the opening weekend, American Girl fans will have the chance to get a free gift and craft while supplies last. Those in attendance can enter a contest to win American Girl’s Lea doll, which was the 2016 Girl of the Year.

The store is located in the mall’s upper level near Nordstrom.

Stephanie Spanos, American Girl spokeswoman, said Metro Detroit is a top market for the company. “The mall ... is a great fit for our brand and provides us with an amazing opportunity to introduce American Girl products and our retail concept to locals and tourists traveling to Detroit,” she said.

A “curated assortment” of dolls, books and accessories will be stocked in the store, which also has a doll hair salon and ear piercing services, Spanos said.

The store will close Jan. 31 after the holiday season.

The Novi store opens two weeks before American Girl introduces a doll representing a 9-year-old African-American girl from Detroit — an aspiring singer named Melody Ellison. Her story puts her in the mid-1960s in Detroit, a time of “great energy, optimism and change for the African-American community.”

Spanos told The Detroit News the doll will debut in Detroit on Aug. 20, five days ahead of the doll’s national launch.

American Girl will host a launch event at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Aug. 20 to thank board members who help craft the doll’s look and story.

The company is donating $175,000 in Melody dolls, books and money to the Detroit Public Library’s 23 branches. Spanos said “any area child who wants one” will get a free Melody book through the end of the year, too.

ithibodeau@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2359

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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