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New local boutiques, businesses and brands you may not know — but should.
On the heels of the success of her year-old Midtown Detroit baby, the Peacock Room, Rachel Lutz has conjured another boutique, also in the lobby of the historic former-hotel-turned-condominium building Park Shelton, that is already promising to be equally unique.
Opened as a pop-up shop early in October to coincide with Dlectricity, a Midtown light-art exhibition, Emerald is more than simply charming — which it is. Like its sister boutique, it exudes the sensibilities of another time, starting with a dramatic centerpiece 1927 chandelier from the now-demolished Wayne Theater (donated by a friend). A wall cloaked in a theatrically styled curtain crafted by Ivy’s Custom Corsetry is yet presented in a very modern way.
The contemporary haberdashery offers accessories for men ranging from Stetson hats, Filson bags and wallets, silk ties and cashmere-wool-and-angora blend socks (“Once they try them, they never go back,” says Lutz). Gift items include Sander’s chocolate-covered potato chips, women’s perfumes, books, stationery and more.
While the Peacock Room focuses on women’s apparel and accessories, also with a vintage-style flair, Emerald allows Lutz to focus her increasingly famous eye on the world beyond — always with a nod to history, Detroit or preferably a combination of the two. She’s already sold a 1950s felt Tigers pennant, a bowl that once resided in Detroit’s historic Statler Hotel and jewelry made from replica tokens from the Fisher body factories.
Although Lutz had thoughts of opening a second shop down the road, the opportunity presented itself when Leopold’s Books decided to close its doors. “I made the decision in 48 hours,” says Lutz. “I am not a risk-taker, but the opportunity presented itself. It’s such prime real estate. And I was inspired by my godmother, Barbara Cash, who taught me to think bigger with my life. So here I am.”
Motivated also by the opportunity to sign a six-month lease, the idea of a pop-up shop was appealing in that it gave her the chance to experiment with the market. “My hope is that it will become a permanent shop,” says Lutz.
A longtime supporter of Detroit’s development and a former board member of Preservation Wayne, Detroit’s oldest and largest preservation organization, Lutz, who also lives in the Park Shelton, is passionate about Detroit’s Midtown and all it has to offer. “I hope that people see that my impulsiveness reflects my confidence in this area,” she says.
Emerald, 15 E. Kirby, Suite 114, Detroit (313-559-5500; peacockroomdetroit.com). Visitors should enter from the Woodward side, one block north of the Detroit Institute of Arts; the attached structure offers free parking.