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WORKSHOP Snags a Quirky, Bi-Level Space at Fisher Building

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Main floor, looking out at Second Street.
Main floor, looking out at Second Street.

[Photo by Chris and Michelle Gerard]

The team behind the stylish redesign of Stella Good Coffee has another project taking shape in the Fisher Building. A dormant storefront will soon be activated as Workshop, a pop-up specializing in handcrafted furniture made from reclaimed lumber. Remember how the guts of a home on Cadillac Boulevard became Stella's decor? That's the idea here: furniture made not only IN Detroit, but made OF Detroit.

Workshop aims to elevate the significance of Detroit's salvaged lumber, taking it beyond a Whole Foods-style gimmick by emphasizing that a product locally sourced and built is something worth taking pride in. Much of the lumber originally came from Michigan's virgin pine forests, becoming the rafters and floorboards of homes built in an age when Detroit was one of the world's most promising cities.

The expertise comes from James Willer, founder of the deconstruction organization Reclaim: Detroit. He hashed out the idea for Workshop with storeowner Stella Good Coffee owner Kevin Borsay while creating the coffee shop's interior. Luckily, they have an ideal storefront.

Not only does this storefront come with the standard Fisher Building. It comes with an extra level. A narrow stairway winds up from the main floor to a mezzanine, where customers will be able to tour the furniture production area. Workshop's schedule calls for an initial run from October through the holiday season. Should business remain strong, we're told Workshop could have a permanent spot in New Center's ever-brightening retail scene.