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From Rags to Riches: Detroit Motor Apparel Transitions from Berkley Basement to Royal Oak Store

The clothing company marked its grand opening Aug. 3.

It's a little piece of Michigan right in the heart of downtown Royal Oak.

Getting its start two years ago in co-owner Colleen McClue's basement in Berkley, Detroit Motor Apparel officially opened its doors to the public Aug. 3 at its new Washington Avenue store.

If you're looking for a way to show your Michigan or Detroit pride, you won't be leaving Detroit Motor Apparel empty-handed.

From T-shirts to key-chains to stickers and even baby onesies, the designs and sayings of the items are one-of-a-kind, coming in a variety of colors and themes. Even the music that plays inside the store is reminiscent of classic Motown.

"I think that there needs to be a positive spin on Detroit and so with our shirts and with the overall excitement and happiness of the store and the look, it kind of puts a better outlook and light on it," said McClue. "The more people that you get to be excited about Detroit and want to see it change and get better, then the more people are going to do something about it."

Prices inside the store won't break the bank. T-Shirts range from $12.99 to $25.

"We're young so we don't like to spend a lot of money on things either so we try to send out a lot of coupons, keep things on sale and make sure that it's affordable for people to buy," said McClue.

For those who want to test out Detroit Motor Apparel, the store is currently running a promotional Groupon, where you can purchase one or two shirts for over 50 percent off. In fact, the company attributes their first Groupon – which sold to over 550 people – for putting them on the map.

"We literally started our business from $75 and now we’re here in Royal Oak," said McClue. "It’s still very unreal to me."

Not wanting to leave out the city that its products are based on, the company also donates a portion of proceeds from each sale to Detroit and housing programs such as Grace Centers of Hope. Detroit Motor Apparel works with charities including the Capuchin Soup Kitchen as well as organizes an event each Christmas for Gleaners Food Bank.

"It's worth spending that money to get what you receive in return to give back," McClue said.

The owners of the company are excited for what lies in store for them at their new location. 

"Royal Oak is booming; this is the place to be" said McClue. "It's culturally diverse, there is just every type of person here and our store is something where I think anyone can find something for somebody."

The owners are also looking to highlight members of the creative community who are artists and musicians. If you are interested in applying, call them at 248-439-6993 at e-mail cs@detroitmotorapparel.com.

Detroit Motor Apparel is located at 706 S. Washington Ave. and is open noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Monday and Sunday.  For more information, visit detroitmotorapparel.com.

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