Shop Detroit Day encourages customers to see what city has to offer seasonally, year-round

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Courtesy of The Detroit News

Shop Detroit organizers hope Woodward Avenue stores such as CityLoft, decorations and family activities will lure shoppers downtown

The block of Woodward Avenue that once housed the famous J. L. Hudson Co. department store will again be alive with the buzz of holiday shoppers, thanks to the efforts of two Detroit startups.

Detroit-based D:hive and Detroit Synergy are hosting the ninth annual Shop Detroit day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, and are expecting record crowds rarely seen since the department store closed in 1983.

The event, which begins at the D:hive’s downtown welcome center — directly across from the old Hudson’s site — will offer information about local retailers and special discounts. A free shuttle service throughout the greater downtown area will be provided by Somerset Collection CityLoft and Bedrock Real Estate. The Detroit People Mover, another Shop Detroit partner, is offering free service Saturday to participants, and a walking tour of downtown businesses will begin at 2 p.m.

“The idea is to promote local shopping,” said Jeanette Pierce, director of community relations at D:hive, a welcome center that connects visitors with Detroit offerings. “Just because we don’t have a Gap at every corner doesn’t mean we don’t have shopping.”

The event promises to be bigger than ever, Pierce said, because of the additions of pop-up stores downtown such as CityLoft, Moosejaw and the Detroit Shoppe, located on the same block as D:hive.

The free shuttle service will include stops at Eastern Market, the Park Shelton and the Auburn in Midtown — where retailers, including men’s décor store Hugh, recently opened.

“A lot of people don’t know these stores exist,” Pierce said.

Shop Detroit — begun by Detroit Synergy, a community building group, in 2004 — has routinely attracted more than 200 attendees, Pierce said. But with Noel Night in Midtown and the Detroit Urban Craft Fair at the Masonic Temple also happening Saturday, she is hoping for more than 400 shoppers this year.

Moosejaw manager Michael Kardes said he’s hoping for a great turnout, and Pierce said all the local businesses benefit.

“Even if customers don’t make it to a particular store on Shop Detroit day, they’re more aware,” she said. “It’s about planting the seed.”

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