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Michigan Shop Worth a Stop: The Detroit Mercantile Company

by Lisa Diggs

Detroit’s Eastern Market has long been a destination to shop for local goods, though in most cases that meant food and foliage. That is until the doors opened at The Detroit Mercantile Company. The red brick walls, blocked lettering above the door, and wooden shelves harken back to a simpler time. It is reminiscent of the old general stores of yesteryear, not only in name, but in look and merchandise.

This is a great place to shop for a gift, discover unique products, or simply pass some time. Owner, Robert Stanzler, first became known locally as the creator of the original Made in Detroit logo. He went on to start his own apparel outfit, Detroit Manufacturing, which still provides unique, typically Detroit-themed clothing.

Stanzler’s roots in his beloved hometown run deep. His great-grandfather originally emigrated from Poland and worked at the Ford Model T Assembly Plant. A pride in local and American manufacturing seems to have been handed down and instilled in Stanzler, who attempts to curate his store primarily with items made in Detroit and Michigan, or at least in the United States.

Browsing through the shop you’ll find clothing and accessories from the likes of Carhartt, Detroit Denim, Detroit Scroll, and Stormy Kromer. The modest collection of books available are all Detroit-themed.

It’s also not uncommon to find perishable products from companies like Better Made or McClary Bros. on site. Children’s blocks from Uncle Goose and reclaimed wooden frames from Urban Ashes are a natural fit amidst a flurry of vintage items.

If you’re looking for ways to demonstrate your pride in Detroit or Michigan you’ll find a bountiful selection of those as well, most locally-produced, ranging from glassware to maps and candles to flags.

Behind the general store area is a large space that can be used for special events. In fact, Stanzler creates opportunities for other Michigan entrepreneurs to sell in the space periodically, like at his increasingly popular Merry Market during the holiday season.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of visiting The Detroit Mercantile Company is that it is nestled in Eastern Market, just a short walk from the sheds. That proximity gives you a fantastic excuse to patronize other local retailers like Germack Coffee Roasting Company, Cost Plus Wine Shoppe, and R. Hirt.

When it’s time for a break from shopping, dining and drinking options abound. Walk around the corner to Roma Café, which is the oldest Italian restaurant in Detroit or spice things up at Sala Thai. At the other end of Russell Street, Supino Pizzeria has received nationwide recognition for its gourmet creations, leading the owners to open La Rondinella next store. Wet your whistle at nearby Detroit City Distillery, or head into Vivio’s for one of the city’s most infamous Bloody Mary’s. You can even buy a bottle of the mix to bring home.

The Detroit Mercantile Company is open Tue-Fri 10am-7pm; Sat 7am-7pm; and Sun 11am-5pm. It’s located at 3434 Russell Street, Detroit, Michigan 48207. 


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