- Associated Press - Monday, December 21, 2020

DETROIT (AP) - Downtown Detroit’s Dose Collective is all about building the Detroit brand.

The pop-up holds 23 different brands that are either locally based or have a connection to the city. But it doesn’t feel like a pop-up shop. Dose Collective is specifically curated to have a smooth retail flow.

“I felt like it embodied what Detroit is about - just giving you a dose of all of the different elements from fashion to what the Motor City is about to our Motown era. It’s just giving you a dose of that all in one place,” said owner Tee Capel, 36.

The location at 1419 Woodward Ave. has about 2,000 square feet full of apparel, accessories, skin care, candles, stationery and more. The store opened Nov. 7 and will be operating until the end of Capel’s lease in the summer, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Local brands in the store include Mutha Art Gallery, House of Rehab, Detroit Flower Company, Avabelle Boutique, Paper Standards, David Vintage, Detroit GT, Survived and more. Capel also has her own women’s clothing and accessory brand in the store called Fly Behavior, which has been in business for eight years.

“I’ve operated online a majority of the eight years that I’ve had this brand and I’ve always valued the experience of that in-person, customer touch point,” said Capel. “It’s always been really important to me, so I know that I’m not the only one. And it’s really difficult with a small business to be able to take that leap to have your own brick-and-mortar space.”

So, not only did Capel create the opportunity for her own brand to be located in a brick-and-mortar store, but she also gave other businesses the opportunity. At the store, 90% of the brands are based in Detroit and the other 10% of businesses have connections to the city.

Business owners have easy access to enter the store or ship their products to replenish their pop-up sections. There is still space available for more businesses to be in the store after paying a one-time fee. The fee is used to fund the operations of the business, such as purchasing signage and fixtures, paying the rent and using marketing tools.

“When it comes to selecting which brands we have partnered with us, it’s really about looking at those brands that have done some type of work when it comes to creating a brand,” said Capel. “What I like to call it is shelf-ready - a brand that is shelf-ready, that has done some pop-ups, that understands their customers, that knows their products.”

Lining the back wall of the store, there are 14 illustrated photos of Detroit landmarks that were designed by the brand Detroit GT, which stands for Graphic Technologies. Christopher Gorski, the owner of Detroit GT, reflected on how Woodward Avenue looked while he was growing up, stating that the buildings were abandoned and smelled like mildew. Today, Gorski said, the area’s growth is “a fuel to my fire.”

“It is incredible to have a space on Woodward Avenue because it is the main artery of our whole city,” said Gorski. “To be downtown, especially across the street from Shinola Hotel and all these fine stores, to be a part of that is truly incredible. It’s kind of a dream come true.”

He said that being in Dose Collective is a great opportunity for small businesses to bring their brands to downtown Detroit’s foot traffic. Gorski has face masks, apparel, stickers, prints, hats and other gift items on display in the store.

Dose Collective started in 2017 and the original space, just a few doors down, was in partnership with Bedrock’s Downtown Detroit Markets during the holiday season. Now, Capel is able to branch out and do her own thing, but still continues to partner with Bedrock.

Because of the pandemic, Capel signed a short-term lease to allow for adjustment during this time of uncertainty. The brands currently in the store will stay until January, and while some brands will remain in the store, there will be new brands available come February.

“For the most part, the brand list is consistent, but depending on how things go with the pandemic, for sure we’ll be here through next year,” Capel said. “Possibly longer, but that’s just minimally.”

Capel is opening a second Dose Collective location at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, and details of the grand opening will be announced soon.

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