Prominent Hill store undergoes significant renovations

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 10, 2018

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Could the Hill become the next hot shopping destination?

Those affiliated with Capricious think so. When the women’s clothing and accessories boutique at 74 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe Farms reopens April 12, it will be about three times bigger and will feature expanded offerings, adding 13 popular women’s clothing brands to the mix, including AG Denim, Eileen Fisher, Elie Tahari, Kate Spade, NYDJ and Spanx.

The store — which will celebrate its sixth anniversary this fall — is owned by Farms businesswoman and philanthropist Gretchen Valade, whose grandfather, Hamilton Carhartt, launched the work clothing company Carhartt Inc. in 1889. But you won’t find ball caps or overalls at Capricious. The store started out with handbags, shoes and jewelry, and carries designer brands like Elizabeth and James, Alexis Bittar, Stuart Weitzman and Tory Burch. As part of its expansion, it has added women’s clothing, so shoppers can now put together a full outfit in one trip.

In an email interview, Jenny Buda, the store manager, said Capricious will now be roughly 3,600 square feet. Capricious now occupies its former storefront as well as the space that formerly housed the neighboring League Shop, which was sold to a new owner and moved to the Village in 2017. Buda said Valade owns the building where Capricious is located.

“We will be a premier shopping destination for the Pointes and additional suburbs as well,” Buda said. “Apparel is the big addition, but we have also expanded our accessories as well, offering Hobo and Hammitt handbags, to name a few, and new jewelry lines too.”

To undertake the expansion and remodel, Capricious closed Dec. 23, 2017.

“Gretchen Valade announced to myself and the rest of the staff her intent to expand last spring, and we were all thrilled,” Buda said. “It’s been a long but rewarding journey. A great deal of care and investment has gone into the remodel to ensure that the shopping experience is like nothing else in Grosse Pointe and outlying areas. The store is gorgeous and very well-appointed to make a customer feel welcome and special. The customer service and attention to detail is unlike anything Grosse Pointe has seen in quite some time.”

Valade also opened Morning Glory Coffee and Pastries and the Dirty Dog Jazz Café on the Hill, the latter of which marked its 10th anniversary earlier this year. Like Capricious, both are elegant but comfortable venues that have become popular destinations.

“Mrs. Valade’s continued commitment to Grosse Pointe and the Hill is clearly understood once you enter the store,” Buda said of Capricious. “There has been a strong need for a new retail outlet in this community for some time, and Mrs. Valade understood that and put a plan into action.”

Although the Grosse Pointes — especially the business districts on Kercheval in the Farms, Grosse Pointe City and Grosse Pointe Park — have an array of stores with fresh and fashionable finds for individuals and the home, local residents are still heading out to the Somerset Collection in Troy or Partridge Creek in Clinton Township for much of their shopping. Stores like the expanded Capricious could help to turn that tide and encourage eastsiders to shop locally, as well as draw shoppers from other areas.

Valade has contributed millions to nonprofits, including creating the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center at Wayne State University and preserving the Detroit Jazz Festival. She has also established several record labels, including Mack Avenue Records, which is now one of the world’s leading labels for jazz artists.

Farms City Manager Shane Reeside acknowledged that Valade has made a positive impact on her community, calling her “a remarkable woman.”

“Gretchen has made an enormous contribution to the vitality of the Hill business district,” he said by email. “Whether stopping at Morning Glory for a coffee and pastry, shopping at the soon to be opened expanded Capricious, or dining and listening to great music at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café, everything she has done has been done first-rate with a great attention to detail.”

Valade was also responsible for funding the Farms’ K-9 program. Officer Tim Harris’ K-9 partner, German shepherd Duke, is named for legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington in a nod to Valade’s love of jazz.

Like the neighboring Village business district on Kercheval in Grosse Pointe City, the Hill is thriving. Reeside said by email that the Hill is “virtually fully occupied.”

For more information, visit www.capriciousgp.com or call (313) 458-8719.