The Bedrocks Brands Corporation is, I believe, a Texas-based conglomerate with investments in many different endeavors. At some point in 2012, they decided to establish a manufacturing operation in Detroit to produce items for the silk stocking/white shoe market. Their Motown operation used the name Shinola Detroit. Their marketing plan emphasized the quality of products made in Detroit. By 2014, there were assembling three types of goods in Detroit: rather expensive watches, costly bicycles and similarly priced leather goods such as purses. The Shinola Detroit website suggests that the minimum price for their watches is $550 while, for bicycles, the price range goes up from $1,950. The watches are assembled in Detroit but many of the components are produced in Switzerland. Their bicycles were, I believe, designed in Italy but many of the parts are manufactured in the Midwest, including the Detroit area. I think that their leather for both their leather goods and their watch bands is supplied by a Chicago firm.
Bedrock Brands clearly has resources to promote the line of Shinola Detroit products that are assembled here in Motown. The firm, aiming for its target market of very prosperous customers, spent about 14.5 million to establish a retail store in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhatten. In Detroit, they renovated a building on West Canfield just west of Cass in the Cass Corridor for retail sales. This is an amazing change. Into the 1990s, Cass Corridor was a location that some customers visited to purchase drugs or to transact business with low-cost commercial sex workers. Now you can visit the Shinola Detroit store just off Cass at 411 West Canfield and purchase very expensive top of the line watches, bicycles and purses.
To establish a manufacturing facility in the city of Detroit, Shinola Detroit rented 30,000 square feet of space in the former General Motor’s Argonaut Building which is now identified as the College for Creative Studies Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education. This is located at 450 West Milwaukee in Detroit’s New Center Historic District.
To promote their products, especially their time pieces, Shinola Detroit administrators opted to erect four major clocks—resembling the watches they produce—on the streets of Detroit. Two of them are pictured on this page. The Shinola Detroit firm spent $12,000 to have each of the five public clocks installed in downtown Detroit. They have faces more than three feet in diameter with a stainless steel casing and are supported by a 13 foot tree pole.
Location of Shinola Detroit clocks:
Washington at West Larned in front of Cobo Hall
Cass at West Canfield near the West Canfield Historic District and the Shinola Detroit retail store
Cass at West Milwaukee on the campus of the College for Creative Studies at the Alfred
Taubman Center for Design Education where their assembly facility is located
Eastern Market near Shed #3
Ford Field Gate A on Brush Street
City of Detroit Designated Historic District: Not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites: Not listed
National Register of Historic Places: Not listed
Website for the Shinola Detroitfirm:
Pictures: Reynolds Farley, April 5, 2014 and May 8. 2014
Description prepared: May, 2014
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