Best of Detroit 2012
Real Deal - Staff Picks
Our staff picks for retail in Metro Detroit
Published: April 25, 2012
22801 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 810-441-9115; rustbeltmarket.com
If you've got friends in town and you want to impress them without trying, lead them to this 15,000-square-foot space, the former home of an Old Navy, and let them get lost in this circular bazaar filled with DIY crafters. Maybe it's not as rad or edgy as Detroit's Russell Industrial Center, but it's not bad for the easygoing burbs, and it still attracts its fair share of eccentrics. Splurge a little on a soy candle or a soy smoothie or a robot-shaped throw pillow. Sure, you don't actually need much of this stuff, but you'd be surprised at how much you realize you need at least some of it — from shoes to seeds to soaps. Dash in the soundtrack of local musicians serenading you from the center of the charmingly cluttered floor and you could be standing at Portland's renowned Saturday Market, only with less hemp. Get there before something corporate swoops in.
Best Place to Rent a Costume
The Parade Company
9500 Mount Elliott, Studio A, Detroit; 313-923-7400; theparade.org
On a past episode of The View, Tom Selleck can be seen posing for the cameras next to a giant papier-mâché replica of his own head worn by a good-humored member of the morning show's crew. Constructed and rented out by the team at the Parade Company in Detroit, the giant noggin boasts a mustache as broad as the real-life-Selleck's shoulders. Mr. Selleck's is one of many featured heads that can be rented from the Parade Company's "Heads of Detroit" collection — other favorites include Diana Ross, Father Cunningham and Joe Louis. They also carry non-specialty heads such as hound dogs, ducks and monkeys. Besides the heads, the Parade Company boasts more than 3,000 good, old-fashioned costumes — Roman soldiers, Shakespearean actors and swashbuckling pirates to name a few. Costumes start at $20 per use and go up from there. They don't do licensed character costumes ("We don't have SpongeBob," they told us firmly over the phone), but with such a grand selection, you won't care. Whether you need an impressive Halloween costume, want to make a splash at a private party or just need to add a little spice to an event, the Parade Company's the best place to rent a costume.
Best New Detroit
Detroit Farm and Garden
1759 20th St., Detroit; 313-655-2344; detroitfarmandgarden.com
Just in time for spring, the folks at Detroit Farm and Garden have opened their doors allowing the smell of damp soil, fresh mulch and fertilizer to waft out. Located in the former Third Police Precinct on Detroit's Southwest side, DFG prides itself on filling the city's largely unmet need for quality farming, gardening and landscape resources. They carry bulk (mulch, compost, top soil) and a large variety of seed, as well as chicken, goat and rabbit feed. They'll even deliver their goods for a small fee. A landscape architect by trade, owner Jeff Klein has also assembled an impressive collection of quality tools for all of your farming, gardening and landscaping needs. All of DFG's farming and gardening supplies are all-natural and organic, designed with the earth in mind. The DFG space itself will play host to gardening and farming classes intended to educate the Detroit's burgeoning green thumbs by drawing on the experience and talents of urban farmers who have been here for years.
Best New Boutique
The Peacock Room
15 E. Kirby St., Detroit; 313-559-5500; peacockroomdetroit.com
Located on the ground floor of the Park Shelton, this new boutique features a mix of new, vintage and quality consignment clothing for trendsetting Detroiters. Almost as attractive as the stock — flouncy skirts, patterned scarves, vintage bowties, colorful socks, saucy stockings — is the shop itself, artfully arranged with eye-pleasing displays that make the merchandise seem like it's part of decor rather than up for grabs by discerning shoppers. Make sure you take multiple browsing laps around the place so your eye doesn't pass over some hidden gem you just have to have — from reproduction vintage jewelry and cuff links to chic hats and handbags. Adding to the Peacock Room's elegance are the original architectural details uncovered by owner Rachel Lutz after leasing the space. What started as a modest renovation to remove drop ceilings and drywall turned into a full-on historic renovation when Lutz realized that the store was located in the historic building's original 1927 dining room. She is slowly returning the spot to its original grandeur, including original paint colors and mirrored ceilings. The enthusiastic and outgoing Lutz is more than willing to give shoppers the inside scoop on the updates, as they discover lovely treasures both architectural and sartorial.
Best Place to Outfit Your Legs
Hosiery with Style
660 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 248-217-0058; hosierywithstyle.com
Are pantyhose passé? Are bare legs the new black? If you answered yes to either of these questions, one trip to this specialty boutique inside the First National Building will quickly change your mind. Stockings don't have to be dull necessities that turn your legs the unnatural hue of burnt toast and rip after a single wearing. Bright colors and flashy patterns abound at Hosiery with Style, which stocks the best-known, high-quality brands of stockings, including Berkshire, Calvin Klein and DKNY. While bold and provocative patterns may only appeal to the fashionable brave of heart, the store also carries the everyday basics, including a large selection of plus sizes, basic socks and thigh-highs. Purses, shoes and other fun accessories are also available, as well as a selection of men's socks. And while the inevitable runs always make hose shopping a love-hate enterprise, frequent shoppers are rewarded for their trouble with a free pair of stockings after five $15 purchases.
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