Shinola sister store opens in Midtown 

Does Detroit really need an outdoor outfitter?

click to enlarge filson_1.jpg

Photo by Liv Martin

A recent study came out that told Detroiters what we already know: The city needs more shopping establishments. Luckily, new stores seem to be opening every day, and neighborhoods like Midtown are popping with plenty of retail offerings.

City Bird, Nest, Cass Corridog, Source Booksellers, Thrift on the Ave, Tulani Rose, The Hub, and Shinola are all located within a block of each other, creating something of a retail district in a neighborhood that's also home to Great Lakes Coffee, Treat Dreams, HopCat, the Majestic Complex, Union Street, Avalon International Breads, and La Feria.

Now, Filson, a Seattle-based retailer that's owned by the same company as Shinola, has opened up on Canfield near its sister store. It's the retailer's first Michigan location, but its 10th nationwide.

According to a press release, the store was founded by C.C. Filson in 1897 to outfit prospectors headed for the Klondike Gold Rush, but Shinola acquired it in 2012.

Filson's president, Gray Madden, is quoted as saying, "We know the people of Michigan and Detroit have a passion for being outdoors in every season. "We've been outfitting Michigan residents for years through our catalogs and website, and are proud to be opening a store here."

The shop sells beautiful yet prohibitively expensive outdoor clothing and gear. A pair of socks goes for $32, a men's button-up is $98, a nondescript tote is $95, a "square scarf" is $60 — you get the point.

The shop is third in a succession of Shinola-related shops that have set up on the block with little success. Willy's opened in 2014 and shuttered earlier this year, with Filson taking its place. Fellow Barber, an upscale barber shop, lasted a whole five months.

With high-end neighbors like John Varvatos, Will Leather Goods, and, of course, Shinola, we often wonder who's shelling out the loot to keep these stores open. And furthermore, does Detroit really need an outdoor outfitter? That's a legitimate question.

That point aside, Filson's goods are drool-worthy. If a $145 moleskin button-up isn't in the budget, you can always just treat this place like the international museum of the WASP. The store sells leather wallets, tin cloth duffle bags, pricey watches, and camping gear. Peruse the website and you'll find a $650 hammock, a $350 camping knife, a $165 camping stool, a $50 dog leash, and other such goods. Would we love to outfit our life with this stuff — hell yes! Can we afford to? You know the answer to that question.

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