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Small Businesses in Northwest Detroit Thriving Despite Location Issues

Portrait of wonderful young blonde womanIf Midtown and downtown Detroit are the only places where a business can succeed these days, don’t tell that to Detroit Fiber Works. They continue to grow with every passing day, and upcoming development in the area could help them even more.

According to Crain’s Detroit, local fashion boutique Detroit Fiber Works is one of several businesses that is thriving despite what is perceived to be a less-than-appealing location on Livernois Ave.

Mandisa Smith, co-owner of the fashion store, said that her decision to open the store on the historic Avenue of Fashion was mainly cost-influenced, but since she grew up in the area, it was an easy decision to make.

“We have thought about maybe opening in one of the busier areas, but one of the advantages of us opening here was the cost,” Smith said. “In order for us to open in Midtown or downtown, we’d have to spend a lot of money. For us that’s not possible right now. This feels like the right place to be.”

The store opened on the night of the Detroit Design Festival two years ago, which helped expose it to people from all over Detroit. Detroit Fiber Works specializes in handmade clothing and home decor items, which makes it perfect for the trendy Northwest demographic.

Detroit’s fashion scene has been burgeoning as of late, and another local fashion show recently took place in Midtown. According to the Michigan Chronicle, the 12th annual WALK Fashion Show attracted droves of fashionistas once again while raising money for HIV/AIDS awareness.

While Detroit Fiber Works and the WALK show feature high-end fashion, there are shops offering more practical threads that have also seen recent success in the Northwest.

John Varvatos on Woodward Ave. sells comfortable waxed jeans, leather jackets, and linen t-shirts. Those who wear linen maintain a skin temperature about 3°-4°C below that of their silk or cotton-wearing friends, so those who value function over fashion may skip Detroit Fiber Works and take a trip to Woodward.

No matter where you go, it seems as if Northwest Detroit’s momentum will only continue to grow. Several new restaurants are set to open in the area, and Mandisa Smith is preparing for a new wave of loyal customers to discover her store.

“We’re confident it’s just a matter of time before people know that we’re here,” Smith said.

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