Over a year ago partners Michelle Winstanley and Jenna Talia opened a little vintage boutique in Harper Woods. Talia is known for being an original member of local rock group Glitter Trash, but she and Winstanley also have a love for all things midcentury. They bought the building at 20602 Harper Avenue in Harper Woods and did some serious renovations, but that was after they traveled the Midwest in the middle of a polar vortex in order to build up a stock big enough to open the store.
"We went all over the Midwest to all these auctions. A lot of people who would normally have been at these auctions didn't show up because the weather was so awful," says Winstanley. So, the two ended up with a bevy of midcentury pieces to fill their shop.
Winstanley describes their stock as anything from "Deco to disco," adding that they even have some stunning pieces from the '80s too. Right now Mercury Retropolis is carrying Charles Pollock leather sling chairs, a Kent Coffey credenza, and a 6-foot-tall chrome "Birds in Flight" sculpture by Curtis Jere, among many other pieces.
They also carry midcentury oil paintings and lighting, along with other artworks, "crazy optics," and sculpture lamps.
A year after their voyage around the Midwest to collect prices at auction, Winstanley says she keeps the store well-stocked by buying pieces from customers.
"Our inventory gets boosted from people coming into the store after someone's passed away and they want their things to go to someone who will love it," she says.
So, where does the name come from? Winstanley says she and Talia originally wanted to name the store Retropolis, but another boutique already owned the name. So, they decided to incorporate Winstanley's ruling planet, Mercury, into the moniker. It also helps that the Roman god Mercury happened to be the god of merchandise and merchants.
You won't find any of Mercury Retropolis' goods for sale online, which is just one reason why this Harper Woods boutique is well worth a visit.
Alysa Offman is associate editor of the Detroit Metro Times.