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Woodward Throwbacks turns car dealership building into new showroom

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Photos by Michelle & Chris Gerard

When we last visited Woodward Throwbacks, a home goods and custom furniture business created by Bo Shepherd and Kyle Dubay, they had just opened a flagship store west of Corktown. Even then, they knew the space would be too small, and they were already looking for a larger location. A year and a half later, they’ve bought, renovated, and moved their business into a 24,000-square-foot car dealership in Hamtramck. Curbed recently stopped by to check out the space.

The former Garrity Dodge Dealership at 11500 Joseph Campau was vacant for ten years, and Dubay says that at least once a week, someone stops in saying that they almost bought the building. Dubay and Shepherd haven’t changed the layout at all, but have completed many renovations including installing a new fire suppression system, updating the electrical, getting a new roof, updating bathrooms, and restoring hardwood floors on the second level.

The first floor houses a showroom and a lumber room, where shoppers can find reclaimed wood, fixtures, and materials for creating their own furniture and housewares. They have specialty hardware and materials you can’t find in a big box hardware store, and after the new year, they plan on holding more workshops so people can learn more about designing.

The second floor holds Woodward Throwback’s workshop, where they make everything that they sell downstairs. The workshop alone is three times bigger than their old store on Michigan Avenue. On this floor, they also house offices for themselves and for the organization Women of Banglatown, which helps young women and immigrant women in Hamtramck.

A ramp from the dealership leads up to the top of the building, which has great views of Hamtramck and, when clear, Detroit. In the summer, they plan to cover the roof with astro turf and hold events and open markets.

They say that they’re already getting a lot of foot traffic from the location and they feel a strong sense of community here in Hamtramck. They couldn’t find a place like this in Eastern Market, Midtown, or Corktown, and this old dealership is just the right fit for their growing business. They’re hosting a Hamtramck Open Market on December 16 from 6-11 p.m with local vendors, beer, and paczkis. Here’s a look around the shop.

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard