Going Up? Royal Oak Businesses Find Success on the Second Story
Annabelle's Couture and Canvas Studios invite customers upstairs in downtown Royal Oak.
We’re all familiar with downtown Royal Oak’s trendy retail shops and nightlife scene, but if you look up, you’ll discover another story.
On top of P2—the hip women's clothing, shoes and accessories shop on Main Street—is a gallery space, and over on Seventh Street on the second floor of the former St. Mary High School is a unique new women's clothing store.
Here’s what we discovered by just looking up!
After a three-year timeout, Patti Brock is back in Royal Oak selling women’s clothing in a unique loft space in downtown Royal Oak.
Annabelle’s Couture opened in May at 333 W. Seventh St., Suite 260, in in what was formerly a St. Mary High School classroom.
No stranger to fashion, Brock got her start working for retailer Patti Smith for nearly a decade in the 80s and 90s on Washington Avenue. She also owned a boutique in Pleasant Ridge on Woodward Avenue for 15 years called Excelsior.
“I missed the business so much, I decided to open again,” said Brock from her new second story digs. “At Excelsior, I watched my customers' children grow up and end up wearing our clothing. My customers are all really happy I am back.”
Brock thought about opening an online store, but in the end she opted to open Annabelle’s, which is named for her granddaughter.
“There is an element I love about being hands on, meeting people and knowing families. In the end I realized I didn’t want to sit behind a computer all day and mail things,” she said.
In her new cozy loft, Brock is able to give her customers one on one attention. It’s so comfortable, people “start throwing things around like it’s their bedroom,” she said.
Born and raised in Royal Oak on Fourth Street, Brock, who now lives in Ferndale, supports local designers.
“If it’s in a mall, you aren’t going to find it here,” she said. “I think I don’t always see things the way other people do and I think that is what my customers like. We have a mix of everything in sizes two through 16. Our customers range in age from 15 to 76.”
Brock says isn’t worried about not having a big first story display window.
“If you see someone wearing something you like, you are going to ask them where they got it.”
Annabelle’s is open noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Brock plans to extend her hours, as it gets closer to the holidays.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/AnnabellesCouture.
For the past year and a half, artist Greg Lutz has operated Canvas Studios at 306 ½ S. Main St. for those in need of some inspired soul searching.
Lutz, who also lives in Royal Oak, decided to give up his career as a librarian 11 years ago and focus on creativity and helping others find their passion. A woodworker, Lutz, opened Canvas Studios to showcase his work and that of other artists.
In addition, Lutz works as a creativity consultant and opens his studio to artists, teachers, and businesspeople in need of a space for seminars, classes or meetings.
“It’s a creative space that will hopefully jar some different outcomes,” Lutz said. “When you have a business meeting outside your normal space, we are hoping it brings different ideas and thoughts.”
The studio space can accommodate 25-35 people. Amenities include a kitchen and private bathroom and, of course, proximity to several restaurants.
Canvas Studios is open to the public from 1 – 5 p.m. every day. For more information call 248-759-4633 or visit thecanvasstudios.com.