Felicia Patrick has been in the boutique business for 16 years; just one year longer than her West Willis Village shop has been open. Flo Boutique, located next door to Avalon International Breads off Cass Avenue in Midtown, has been a staple in the district for more than a decade.
The block has seen neighbors come and go. Recently the strip's had an influx of shops open. Places like Nora, Hugh, Human, and Thrift on the Avenue as well as cafés like La Feria and the now-defunct Melt have set up shop on Cass Avenue. All the while Flo Boutique has remained a constant.
"We're 15-year veterans over here. There have been times when we were the only ones here, but this has always been a popping street," she says. "There has always been foot traffic."
Patrick is upbeat and gregarious, traits that are reflected in the wares she stocks at the boutique. She tries to keep eclectic pieces in stock and says she carries pieces her customers won't find in other local stores. She has leather goods from Aakofii, hand-painted tops, and dangly earrings made from natural materials. Hats, shoes, bags, and other accessories are all for sale here too. Right now she's the only shop in Michigan to carry Magnolia Pearl, a bohemian-style clothing brand for women. She also supports local artists, stocking Snob, Is Wear, Scroll, and Sydney G. James. By fall she hopes to be carrying pieces from her own line.
"Fashion is my passion," she says. "I've been doing more with my own line lately, still sewing on my seventh-grade sewing machine."
Patrick's line will be mostly women's clothing, but she'll have a few pieces for men too. She says the line will be simple, funky, and creative.
Alysa Offman is associate editor of the Detroit Metro Times.