John Varvatos: Detroit decision was personal
John Varvatos' decision to open a store in Detroit was an emotional one.
The American fashion designer opened an outlet in his hometown back in March. And while many questioned his decision to have a shop in the city, John believes he made the right call.
"The city’s been behind us; the consumers came out and supported the store in a big way... And they’re attracting additional people downtown because of it now," he told Fashionista. "There, I feel we were definitely an impetus because we went on the main drag where there’s no retail at all and we really did kind of plant our flag in there. It wasn’t a strictly business decision — it was a lot of an emotional decision. At this point in time, after the first four months, it seems that it was a great decision — business has been terrific, better than we ever expected."
Detroit has had a tough time in recent years, filing for bankruptcy in 2013 after the city's huge automobile industry diminished and left many derelict buildings and people without jobs.
But John hopes that opening a store in the place where he grew up will encourage others to follow suit and give Detroit a much needed boost.
"I truly believe in the next five years it will be the most talked about city in the world for urban renewal and opportunity, so it’s an exciting thing to be part of," he continued. "I think if you have an open mind it will definitely be a much bigger opportunity. Will it ever be a fashion destination? It's not going to be New York or L.A. or London, but it will be a destination for additional retail to grow from a fashion point of view — I already see that starting to happen."