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Deserting Downtown? Several retail stores close storefronts in Detroit

Posted at 9:13 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 21:13:55-04

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) — Madewell becomes the latest business in Downtown Detroit deciding to close its doors for good. It’s the third business on Woodward set to close in three months.

Many say it felt like a rebirth. After years of a desolated downtown businesses started coming back to Woodward in Detroit.

“For me it was sentimental,” says Linda Rose-Eckhart who grew up in a small town near the Ohio border.

“My father for mother's day or our birthdays we came to the big city to shop,” says Rose-Eckhart who still takes those shopping trips.

Big retail stores like Nike, Under Armour, H &M, Moosejaw and Madewell were added to that list, with them all opening up in the past 7 years. But once again the list is shrinking. In the past three months at least three clothing stores have announced they will be closing for good.

“It almost feels like a betrayal in a way hang on we just had a pandemic,” says Rose-Eckhart.

Under Armour shuttered in January, Madewell is closing Sunday night, two big retailers. It’s neighbor Detroit is the New Black (DITNB) which is a locally owned business, closed its storefront as well.

Bed Rock owns the buildings housing all three. 7 Action News reached out to see what and whose decision it was for the businesses to close. A spokesperson sent a statement saying,

"We are constantly reviewing our portfolio and working with our tenants to better position them and accommodate new opportunities to strengthen the downtown. Additionally, across the country, National Retailers have been reevaluating their strategies related to the pandemic, and are looking at the urban and suburban markets as well as product types and locations within high streets, malls , power centers and open air centers. The fluctuation in the Detroit market is a direct result of these moves."

"We are incredibly excited by the new retailers and restauranteurs currently working with us to find spaces, a combination of global powerhouses and storied local successes, each with their own Detroit specific offerings. These retailers are re-committing to urban spaces, even while others peel back. Over the next several months we will be working with the Tenants to appropriately announce their entry into the Bedrock portfolio as they join a number of new tenants from this past year, including Saucy Brew Works, Milk + Froth, Selfie Museum of Detroit, Greyson Clothiers, NPower, Sugar Factory, Aratham Gourmet, Brush Park Bodega, Apple Developer’s Academy and DT Midstream. - Bedrock"

“A lot of people come mostly to this area of Detroit and without having shopping as like a major attraction I don’t know how that’s going to impact the city,” says Halle Wiley who frequents downtown.

Shelley Bynum is the sommelier at House of Pure Vin. The wine shop and tasting room was apart of the wave of new businesses coming downtown several years ago. She says COVID hit everyone hard, but retailers have had a more difficult time bouncing back.

“So many of us shopped online on amazon and we were able to get that retail fix...but we weren’t able to have that social experience,” says Bynum.

But despite a few of the retail stores leaving Bynum says Downtown is far from dead.

“Downtown is so vibrant, even though COVID every summer there is more vibrancy added," says Bynum.