Will Bransdorfer says he gets emails all of the time from customers requesting his online Michigan-themed apparel company, The Mitten State
, open up shop near where they live.
Though you can find The Mitten State's nostalgic Michigan-themed apparel in over 40 retailers around the state, the Comstock Park-based company has always done business through a virtual medium, handling all sales through its website since it opened in 2009.
That is, until now.
With a planned mid-November opening date, Bransdorfer says he is just waiting on display fixtures to arrive this week before moving merchandise into the 1,600-square-foot storefront at 1502 Wealthy Ave., with plans to announce the details of its grand opening event, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15.
Although the company has done well over the past year – nearly doubling revenues, Bransdorfer says – he hopes the addition of a physical reference point will help solidify the brand itself as something more than just t-shirts or novelty accessories.
"We want someone to walk in and almost immediately – within 5, 10, 15 seconds – understand what our brand is all about," he says, adding that those sort of interactions don't necessarily happen when your sales are either online or in a store across the state on a shelf with dozens of other brands.
"There's certainly something to be said for that tangible aspect, where people can actually walk in and see, for example, maybe a bunch of old posters from the '70s," he says. "We're going to have one poster with Gerald R. Ford juggling a soccer ball with Pelé. That's kind of emblematic of the aesthetic we're going for."
The Mitten State's new retail space design is rooted in nostalgia and so is its product; the company bases each new shirt design on both the closets and comfort of generations past.
"The whole idea for the shirts that we love are shirts that maybe you’d find in, say, your dad or grandpas closet and it’s already worn down, you know, and it’s your favorite shirt and you can’t really find one like it anywhere else and it’s got a meaning behind it which is part of the reason you want to wear it all of the time," he says. "We don’t’ see ourselves as just selling t-shirts, we see ourselves as selling a memory, a connection to the state."
To keep an eye out for details on its grand opening event or to learn more about the brand, visit The Mitten State on Facebook.
Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of The Mitten State