Kid Rock's 'Made in Detroit' brand has new authorized dealer in downtown Howell

A downtown Howell shop is a newly authorized dealer of Michigan rocker Kid Rock's Made in Detroit brand apparel and other gear. Heart of Michigan has begun selling Made in Detroit shirts, glassware, stickers and other products. The Michigan-made products shop, at 203 W. Grand River Ave., is now the only authorized dealer of the brand in Howell and one of two in Livingston County.

Heart of Michigan owner Karen Wing said she added Made in Detroit products to her shop following the closure of a former retailer of the product line: EnCore 118 Custom Furnishings & Boutique, which shut down late last month.

"They were closing, so I thought I'd pick up the line because it is perfect for my store, being a made-in-Michigan store," Wing said. "Two weeks before (Encore 118) was closing, I told Made in Detroit I'd start selling it to keep the products in Howell."

Wing is a big Kid Rock fan. She's been to five of his concerts. "I also love the brand just because of the message that it gives that Detroit is strong," she said. 

She said she hopes carrying the product line will increase store sales and bring in new customers looking for Made in Detroit products. 

"I think it will bring in younger customers, and we'll also sell it online, so it will also be good for our online store," she said. She said the product line is already selling well. 

Heart of Michigan had a variety of products for sale Wednesday, including seven different styles of shirts, hats, glassware such as beer steins and stemless wine glasses, stickers, key chains, wall-mounted bottle openers, magnets and an American Badass Lager tin sign, among other items. 

Wing and her husband, John Wing, opened Heart of Michigan in 2011. The shop exclusively sells Michigan-made products, including food, kitchen goods such as Michigan-shaped cutting boards, wine, art, books by Michigan authors and a variety of other merchandise.

"We'll have a table outside with Made in Detroit products during Melon Fest," Wing said. She said featuring the product line during this weekend's Howell Melon Festival, which runs this evening through Sunday, will help let people know they can still buy Made in Detroit gear in Howell. 

The shop will also serve special Howell melon shakes, made with fresh melons and Guernsey vanilla ice cream during the festival. 

Doug Orlando, an inside salesperson for Made in Detroit, said the brand sells well in Livingston County and other surround communities that are not part of metro Detroit. 

"People want Detroit to do well. People want to support. Obviously, if you're in Detroit or metro Detroit, you're already supporting Detroit more than someone in Livingston County because it's farther away," Orlando said. "I think, right now in your county and your area, I'm seeing a demand to support local or Detroit businesses, and I think that's why we're seeing growth there."

He said the company likes to space out their retailers, so they don't find themselves competing with each other. 

"Retailers have enough hurdles as there is, and we don't want them to compete with out other retails to get the same sale," he said. "If one store in Howell carries us, we're not going to put another one in Howell."

He said Heart of Michigan is a good fit because they exclusively support Michigan businesses. "We're looking to make a very long-term relationship with (Wing), help her business grow and keep out Made in Detroit brand going as long as we can," he said. 

Only one other shop in Livingston County, skate shop Concrete Roots in Brighton, carries Made in Detroit brand merchandise. Ryan Roberts, manager at Concrete Roots, said the shop has been selling Made in Detroit clothing and other merchandise for about 10 years and it sells well.

"I wouldn't say it's all that popular with the skaters, but it brings us a different customer into our store, especially during festivals," Roberts said. "I think it's mostly people who like the Detroit-style or made-in-Michigan-style shirts."

Shops in nearby communities, rock 'n' roll fashion boutique Venue South Lyon and Lady La's at LaFontaine GMC in Highland Township and After the Rain in downtown Milford, and Elysian Emporium in Holly are among more than 40 retailers in the state that carry the product line, according to the company's website. 

Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timar at 517-548-7148 or at jtimar@livingstondaily.com. Follow her on Facebook @Jennifer.Timar99 and Twitter @JenTimar99.