Somerset retailers take wares to Detroit

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published July 13, 2011

 Somerset Collection CityLoft will open for three days, July 28-30, in a loft development on Woodward, near Campus Martius, in Detroit.

Somerset Collection CityLoft will open for three days, July 28-30, in a loft development on Woodward, near Campus Martius, in Detroit.


Somerset Collection is expanding again, this time into temporary space in downtown Detroit.

Somerset Collection officials said retailers on board include Neiman Marcus, Anne Fontaine, Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Eddie Bauer, Eileen Fisher, Kate Spade, Max Mara, North Face, Restoration Hardware, Swarovski, Sweet Factory and Vera Bradley.

The retailers will take up in 4,000 square feet of space, rent-free, in the 1400 block of Woodward Avenue, north of Campus Martius, in Detroit’s Lofts of Merchant Row. There they’ll sell their wares for three days each month in July, August and September, officials said. The Forbes Co. — which owns Somerset Collection, Bank of America, Quicken Loans and the Cadillac division of General Motors — will pay for the space, which will be used afterward for special events through the end of the year.

Forbes, Bank of America, Quicken Loans and the Southeastern Michigan Lincoln Dealers sponsored the Detroit Shoppe grand opening at Troy’s Somerset in November of last year. The retailers and organizations donated the items for sale at the store, which are sold there for retail price. The difference between the cost and sales price benefits local charities and cultural venues. Eastern Market T-shirts, hand-blown glass from the stores at Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford, and items from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Zoo, the Detroit Institute of Art and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are available at the Detroit Shoppe, along with Germack and Better Made snacks, Sanders sweets, Faygo and Vernor’s soft drinks, and Pewabic Pottery tiles.

Somerset Collection CityLoft came about as the result of the tremendous response to the Detroit Shoppe, Somerset Collection spokesman Ed Nakfoor said. He noted that the store was so successful that it reopened this past spring and will stay open until the end of this year.

“Part of what this is, is to build up the pride and spirit of Detroit,” m’Arch McCarty, artistic director of Imagination Theatre, which designed the store and exhibits, said at the Detroit Shoppe grand opening last fall.

Somerset’s ad campaign, “You Belong Here,” which first aired in 2009 and featured historical, cultural and architectural landmarks in the metro Detroit area, served as the impetus for The Detroit Shoppe and Somerset Collection CityLoft, Nakfoor said.

“It really resonated with so many people,” Nakfoor said. “It was terrific to hear so many people enthusiastic about Detroit and the region. The Detroit Shoppe was an extension of that. People are so enamored of the store. At the end of the day, people like where they live. CityLoft was the next progression.”

Located in a retail loft development, the Somerset stores will offer vignettes, Nakfoor said.

“Items such as apparel, gifts, food and things for the home may be grouped together by the type of merchandise,” Nakfoor noted. “The merchandise encapsulates the Somerset Collection.”

A portion of the retail proceeds from CityLoft will benefit the Somerset Collection Charitable Foundation, which donates funds to local nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions.

Somerset CityLoft is scheduled to be open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. July 28 and 29, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 30. There will be complimentary valet parking onsite, and Cadillac will offer complimentary Escalade shuttles from various office buildings in downtown Detroit. There will be free entertainment on site.

For information about August and September dates, call Somerset Collection at (248) 643-6360 or visit later this month.