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Alley Culture

Shops & Services     own your town - support & enjoy independent shops & services

Some of these Shops have been servicing the community 20, 30, 100 years. Some are a year old, but understand the continuity of place and service. The wallpaper of 'makeovers' and flattened landscapes (for future makeovers on such a large scale that the profit will be external to the community) ignores the human psyche of a neighborhood. Scale and continuity are lost without these places. Some uninformed aspects of Detroit have long been to tear out and say there must be something better, while missing what is cooking right in front of them, sending people to Boxtowns to shop or Well-lighted zones to play. How would Raymond Chandler have written anything if all the city was inside the plan?

REVIEWS (opinionated insider histories and details by friends of AC) have been added to some items.

house & tent supplies   avoid the export of your community to temporary box stores
Brooks Lumber & Hardware - since 1892 (962.6448 - Trumbull at Tiger Stadium - Mr. Planks, a new feline addition)
Detroit Hardware - 1924 (875.0838 - Woodward north of WSU)
3rd Ave Hardware - 1913 (832.7241 - 3rd Ave south of Selden)
Central Detroit Glass - 1930 (833.8870 - Grand River W of 12th)
Mondry Hardware - 1949 (OPEN SUNDAYS 10-5 - 894.3260 - 6657 Michigan south side, west of Livernois next to the Dairy Queen)
Busy Bee Hardware - 1918 (567.0785 - Gratiot & Russel, Eastern Market)
Perry Screw & Bolt - 1942 (831-7635 - Grand River W. of 12th)
Advance Plumbing - 1920 (831-7770 - Grand River at Lodge, moved to Parsons Street in the lower Cass Corridor 2016)
Caniff Electric - 1982 (365-8144 - Caniff & I75)
Detroit Farm & Garden - 2012 (655.2344 - 20th at Vernor, rear entrance of old 3rd Precinct Station) Chicken feed, straw, gravel, top soil, compost, mulch. Bulk deliveries. Garden spades, soil amendments and more tools, not to overlap Brooks.
Cass Cafe (831.1400 - Cass & Forest) art and talk and food and the 'what's going on' table
Cafe 1923 (2287 Holbrook - 319.8766 week to 9PM, weekend to 7PM) They serve up coffee and muffins, reading and talking space in a store front that's been in the same family for 80 years. Restored to the original store's graciousness. Take a cup of coffee down the street to the American Axle strikers. Their grandparents probably bought lunch meat at this shop when it was a corner store.
OmniCorpDetroit (1501 Division, Eastern Mkt - open hack 1st & 3rd Thursday 8PM) Detroit's first hackerspace (since 2009), if you don't count from the gut's Breakcore Pancakes.
Motor City Brewing Works - 1994 (832.2700 - 2nd & Canfield and a second location opening on Livernois north of 7 Mile in late 2017)   The second-oldest microbrewery in Michigan. The first in Detroit. One-night-only Art Show every Wednesday.
take out coffee
Telway (Michigan west of Livernois - Good Coffee 24 hours) city talk  Review
[Steak Hut] (W. Lafayette & 10th - Sunday $2 Breakfast) Closed. Long running Labor and neighborhood greasy spoon with top notch Sunday morning neighborhood fiddlers. Russell Street Deli owners planning to wake it up.
La Colmena (Honey Bee Market) (Bagley at 16th behind the Train station - “best chorizo E of Atzlan,” Culture Clash)
Dutch Girl Donuts (Woodward 1 south of 7 Mile - original Detroit)  Review
Avalon Bakery (832.0008 - Willis & Cass)
Food Not Bombs (Scripps Park, Grand River & Trumbull - Mondays about 4PM) Temporarily on hold. Detroit and Hamtramck FNB are two of the longest running in the nation.
Cass Park with Friends or “Forgotten Workers Picnic” by the Wobbly Kitchen at Cass Park (Temple and Second - every other Sunday at noon) The Wobbly Kitchen grew out of the Friends of Labor Kitchen started during the newspaper strike.
Louisiana Creole Gumbo (567-1200 - Gratiot 2 east of Russell) Homemade take-out red beans and rice & sides
Detroit Electric Car Co. 1907 - 1939 “So far the car of the future remains a car of the past,” Galen Handy.
Fender Bender - 2011 (4605 Cass Ave Detroit) Women, queer and trans collectively run. Ultimately sustainable - get a bike and learn how to repair it. Fender Bender left its physical space on Cass in 2016.
Back Alley Bikes - 1999 and The Hub - 2008 (313.833.0813 - 3611 Cass north of Mack Avenue) Bike parts and repairs Wed, Fri, and Sat 10am - 6pm.
Jimmie's Bike & Repair Shop (925-5240 - Gratiot east of the Market) call for hours and parts. Once the only bike shop left in Detroit proper after the shop on Cass near Chinatown closed, until Sarah and Paul started Back Alley Bikes in 1999.
Though Brooks Lumber always kept Detroiters in tubes and tires. Still does.
Service Tire (2200 Waterman - 842-9100) new owner Sam, and mechanics Dallas & Tony - auto repairs and rebuilds for sale
Metropolis Cycles - 2015 (313.818.3248 - 2117 Michigan at 14th) Open every day except Tuesday 11-7) and (2017 - east side shop on Kercheval east of Van Dyke across from Belle Isle - 313.332.0531).   Real.   Good.
Moy Tung Ving Tsun Kung Fu (282.3915 - Kung Fu with Sifu Owen - daily classes in Eastern Market, 1353 Fisher)
Wildflowers of Detroit is an archive of photos taken by random individuals capturing the wildly thriving beauty across the city of Detroit. A project created by Matthew Shultz and Gwen McKay and launched March 18, 2012 at the Alley Culture Seed Exchange. This archive of place and inhabitants covers approximately 2012 to 2015.
Nature's Products (Gary Wanttaja's herb store is on Conant north of Hamtramck - 891-3900 - if it grows, it is here - Chinese & Western)  Review by John Carlisle
Fuller Life Water Co. - 1987 (800.224.6116 - home delivery) steam distilled, double degassed, and ozonated (cleans the container). Degassing removes the VOCs, chemicals, hormones, radiation, etc. that are in drinking water in small or larger amounts (if they are not regulated). Not your generic bottled water.
[Marwil Bookstore] (832.3078 - Cass & Warren) will order anything new, serving Cass Corridor 60 years. Closed after more than 60 years of service to the Cass Corridor.
Library Bookstore (248.545.4300 - E. Nine Mile) fine used selecttion
People's Records relocated due to the Forest Arms Apartment fire on 2.6.08. They will be starting up again at 3161 Woodward at Peterboro. Now at 1464 Gratiot east of downtown. Same phone number; hours may be different. (831.0864 - Tu - Sat 11 - 7) Used & rare vinyl only
paper, reams
Millcraft (formerly Standard Paper) since 1930 (963.9163 - 14th & Fisher Fwy)
union printing
Red Door Digital (Oakland north of the Boulevard - 875.9026)
Sawicki & Son (W. Lafayette & Trumbull - 962.2725 - pickets & lawn signs)
Dr. Murray Feldman (4851 Michigan Ave. - 894.6333)
[Bagley Vision] (964.7994 - Bagley west of 12th) Closed ca. 2014. Beside the famous “back room” where the sturdy 1950s frames were available for a deal, Bagley Vision housed the donation pick up for the long running newspaper strikers and their famlies in the 1990s.
Drapers Shoe Repair (155 W Congress off Griswold - 449.6755) a working museum of tools and machines collected from Detroit's famous repair shops by a young devotee to the trade - pick up & delivery available
[Louie's Place] (Michigan & 8th - 962.8698 - strings, guitars, tools) good conversation Canal Street style   [After many good years of conversation and service Louie has left Michigan Avenue to play golf.]
garden & landscape
Native Green (248.547.0853) attention to local varieties and low ecological impact maintenance and design by this Master Gardener
big tree work
From the Earth Services (319.0583)
[Detroit GreenCycle] - 2012 (313.279.4241 - your house)   Bike powered curbside recycling pick up. No sorting. Bin provided. $15 - 20 per month. Worker owned. Delivery service available, too. 300 pound max.
Recycle Here! - 2005 (871-4000 - Trumbull at Holden, a few blocks south of the Boulevard - every Saturday before 3:00)   “Their facilty is indoors (no more freezing winter blasts), and they have some helpful volunteers to sort your stuff. A cool operation!” Frank Callis

This page always in progress. Last update 3.7.2017. To add to page contact AC.

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