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More Detroit retail: Kresge shops, Compuware holiday store

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The first floor of the multi-tenant Shops in the Kresge Building is preparing to open with about a dozen tenants including a coffee shop, Italian ice parlor and a variety of other vendors selling goods from hats to shoes, from organic lotions to cigars. Some are start-ups -- like the coffee shop, Chez Zara -- while others are relocating -- like Fierce Fashions -- from Royal Oak.

"We've made it so it's really reasonable, (and the lease) includes everything," says Clayton Wenrick, director of marketing and advertising for the Boydell Group, the building's owner. "(For someone) looking to start up a business, this allows you have a small space in an area with good traffic flow at a really good rate."

Wenrick anticipates being fully open in mid-December when build-out is complete. Like a mall, all shops will have the same hours which, to start, will be Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. After launch, a committee of shopkeepers will meet to determine if any alterations in the schedule are in their best interest.

An on site bar is also part of the operation. "It's completely open to the shopping experience," says Wenrick. "Someone can relax at the bar, take it easy, while their significant other shops."

Boydell is using its previous experiences to inform its operations at Kresge. "We looked at some of the problems we had when we opened the Russell Bazaar," says Wenrick. "We noticed that there were problems with the quality of merchandise -- too many people had the same products or knock-off merchandise -- and it was an extended large area with not enough tenants, so when you would go in there it would feel kind of empty." Therefore, the focus is initially on completely leasing out the first floor's 16 spaces, then to filling the second level. An anchor tenant is being sought for the basement level, which is reached by the famous Kresge escalator.

The Shops in the Kresge Building is located at 1201 Woodward at State. Call 313-964-6700.

In other shopping news, a holiday pop-up store, Festival of Trees Holiday Shop, has opened across the street at the Compuware Building, in the space that formerly housed Borders. Open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the shop is stocked with lights, (artificial) wreaths and trees, candles, decorations and gifts.

Source: Clayton Wenrick, Boydell Group
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
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