The word "hipster" gets overused these days. What is its true definition? Is a hipster simply someone who likes everything before it was cool? Or is this subsect of the human population defined by their desire for everything old to be new again? They seem to universally love suit vests, craft cocktails, beards, and fancy boots. They're also fans of Paddywax candles, succulents, air plants, new things that appear old, retro or ironic coffee mugs, fancy soaps, and musky scents.
Have we digressed? The point is, when we think of Rail & Anchor in Royal Oak, we think of the epitome of a hipster retail establishment, whatever the elusive definition of that word may be. The store features gifts and goods that range from pillows stamped with vintage whale drawings to glass paperweights that contain specimens like scorpions and beetles. They feature a kit to make your own kaleidoscope; they often have old blueprints in stock, along with chemical-free dog shampoo, mannequin heads, and jewelry made my local artisans.
Yes, anchors are a big motif here, as are arrows, animals, ships, globes, feathers, and things from the sea.
Unlike other boutiques of its kind in metro Detroit, Rail & Anchor focuses less on Michigan-made products and more on uniqueness, trendiness, and general kitsch factor. How else can you explain the humping bunnies salt-and-pepper shakers or the beeswax candle busts of Abraham Lincoln?
Some local products are in stock like McClary Bros. Drinking Vinegars and Beard Balm, and Wee Bee Jammin. Their stock rotates regularly, which makes stopping in often fun. The staff is friendly, often offering in-coming customers a small cup of tea to sip while shopping.
Oh, and there's a giant orange Jeep inside the store too.