Detroit Vs. Everybody Plots New Storefront Near Fox Theatre

Detroit vs. Everybody’s Eastern Market storefront has been closed since the building partially collapsed in September.   Hannah Ervin /“> click to enlarge

Hannah Ervin /

Detroit vs. Everybody’s Eastern Market storefront has been closed since the building partially collapsed in September.

Detroit vs. Everybody CEO Sean Williams had just left the brand’s Eastern Market storefront when he got a call to turn back. He and an employee had set up for a sidewalk sale in anticipation of a Detroit Lions tailgate the next day.

“[The employee] said the building collapsed,” he remembers. “She said, ‘They won’t let me in the store.’ The fire department said they were shutting it down and nobody could go inside.”

That was on Saturday, Sept. 16, when a portion of the Del Bene Building at 2501 Russell St. collapsed, damaging several vehicles. Detroit vs. Everybody’s brick-and-mortar was shut down along with Jabs Gym, Beyond Juicery and Eatery, Brooklyn Outdoor, and J’Adore Detroit, which were all located in the building.

After three months of frustration, crowdfunding, and trying to regroup, Detroit vs. Everybody is planning to open a new storefront at 44 W. Columbia St. near the Fox Theatre. While they haven’t nailed down an exact date, Williams tells Metro Times he’s working aggressively to be up and running in December in time for the holidays.

“We’re trying to figure this thing out,” Williams says. “I’m just excited that we are about to be back.”

The Columbia Street building is owned by Illitch-run Olympia Development, which Williams says reached out and wanted to help the brand given the situation.

Detroit vs. Everybody launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with relocation costs and raised around $6,500. (Williams says funds from another campaign started on behalf of all the businesses inside the Del Bene Building have yet to be distributed. He declined to name the organization that started the separate funding effort.)

The Del Bene Building in the Eastern Market partially collapsed in September.   Steve Neavling“> click to enlarge

Steve Neavling

The Del Bene Building in the Eastern Market partially collapsed in September.

“Since it happened it feels like we kinda had to fend for ourselves and figure it out,” Williams says. “It’s frustrating that we’re struggling to get open now. We didn’t have anything to do with the building collapsing. We feel like we’ve done so many things for the city. During COVID we helped raise money for small businesses and we’re a small business. It seems like in this case, we didn’t get that reciprocity.”

Initially,Detroit’s Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED) ordered the immediate demolition of the nearly 130-year-old Del Bene Building, deeming it unsafe. Following complaints from conservationists and building owner Scott Turnbull, BSEED agreed to allow Turnbull to make repairs.

Eventually, Williams was allowed to enter the building and retrieve merchandise and manufacturing equipment. Detroit vs. Everybody was manufacturing its products inside the building but has been outsourcing its production since the collapse. The brand also relaunched its website, which had been shut down since September, in time for Black Friday.

Williams says he still has a good working relationship with Turnbull, but the brand decided to move elsewhere in order to recover profits lost as soon as possible. He isn’t ruling out that the Eastern market storefront could eventually reopen, however.

“I’ve been in communication with [Turnbull] and he’s saying it will probably take about six months to get the spot back open. I told him we’re just going to open somewhere else,” he says. “Everything is up in the air. We’re just restructuring and we’re not opposed to coming back into that space but as of now, it’s hard to determine.”

Prior to the collapse, Detroit vs. Everybody was undergoing a rebrand, and the store hosted sidewalk sales on Russell Street while it closed for renovations. Williams says the brand is down the $100,000 they put into the renovations, including in-store artwork painted by Bakpak Durden.

“We’re doing a refresh so [Detroit vs. Everybody founder Tommey Walker] is working on a huge marketing campaign telling the Detroit vs. Everybody story and we built the store out to mirror his campaign,” Williams says. “It was a whole buildout and new store experience but now we’re working on bringing that back to life at the new location. You make lemonade out of lemons.”


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