The opening today of Nike’s new sportswear store on Woodward Avenue in the heart of Detroit signals that the drought in the downtown area of big-name retailers may be coming to an end.
The Nike store opens at 10 a.m. this morning at 1261 Woodward in a retail space owned by Bedrock Real Estate Services by businessman Dan Gilbert. The opening will follow a private event inside the store featuring Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.
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Jim Bieri, a Detroit-based retail consultant at Stokas Bieri Real Estate, said the arrival of Nike shows Gilbert’s organization is able to reach out to major national brands and find a way to get them. operate in the city. And that will likely lead to more big names coming downtown.
“I think it’s a building block,” Bieri said. “When you tell a lot of the retail world that you have Nike, it makes a big difference. “
Dan Mullen, executive vice president of Bedrock, echoed this.
Nike “absolutely helps attract other retailers,” he said. “He’s just going to keep growing. Nike being such a huge brand, everyone will want to be around Nike. “
While Nike footwear and other athletic goods can be purchased at dozens of outlets in the Detroit metro area as well as online, a Nike store is yet another thing – a large, high-end lifestyle store. which often becomes a destination in itself.
In Detroit, it would become the last high-end retailer along Woodward’s once lackluster stretch between Campus Martius and Grand Circus Park. Recent additions to this stretch include the upscale men’s clothing store John Varvatos. In the past, the Moosejaw outdoor clothing and gear store opened nearby.
A store can’t walk around a neighborhood on its own, and there are plenty of other storefronts on this still empty stretch of Woodward. Mullen said Bedrock will continue to carefully select unique retailers to fill these niches.
“Our plan has always been to be very, very methodical when we market retail products,” said Mullen. “We want to make sure we have good shared flats, brands that fit together well. The quest, he said, is “to find different and unique stores that provide an experience for coming downtown and not just duplicating everything in the suburbs.” We really try to organize the urban experience.
Dennis van Oossanen, Nike’s vice president for North America, said the new store was the latest commitment to the Michigan market.
“It has been a special and important community for our brand for years,” he said in a statement. “We already have several outlets in Michigan, including Nike outlet stores in Auburn Hills, Birch Run, Grand Rapids and Howell. But we know our consumers, and they also live in Detroit. It was important for us to reach them where they are, and we knew that our involvement in this community would be important to them as well.
Nike established its last presence in downtown Detroit in 2004 when it occupied a small portion of an Athlete’s Foot store that opened at 1448 Woodward. This store closed after a few years.
The new store on Woodward will be one of Nike’s so-called community stores, signifying the company’s commitment to young people and local residents. At its community stores, Nike is committed to hiring at least 80% of its team within 5 miles of the location. In some places, like the Nike East Los Community Store in Los Angeles, the number has been almost 100%.
Nike is also committed to allowing its retail staff, known as “In-Store Athletes,” the time to volunteer in their local community through the Nike Community Ambassador program. And community stores also try to capture the spirit of a local community; in the Detroit store, the artwork will feature photos of local sporting scenes as well as clothing from the Detroit Tigers and Lions and MSU Spartans.
“At Nike, when evaluating community store locations, we look for places where we can make a positive contribution to a growing local community and Detroit is no exception,” said van Oossanen.
Contact John Gallagher: 313-222-5173 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jgallagherfreep.