A First Look Inside The New All-American Woodward Thowbacks On Michigan Avenue

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On Michigan Avenue, just west of the Lodge and east of the iconic Hygrade Deli and Mike’s Famous Ham Shop, is a low-slung storefront building that contains the new retail store and woodworking shop of Woodward Throwbacks.

If you’re an Eastern Market regular, you may have seen the wares created by Detroit residents Kyle Dubay and Bozenka “Bo” Shepherd – from furniture to bottle openers – made all of reclaimed and repurposed materials, much of it from illegal dumping sites.

Bozenka "Bo" Shepherd (left) and Kyle (right) of Woodward Thowbacks.
Bozenka “Bo” Shepherd (left) and Kyle Dubay (right) of Woodward Thowbacks.

One man’s trash can be another man’s treasure, after all. And when you step into their new retail storefront – open Saturdays to the public and by appointment (for now) for the rest of the week – you realize just how much treasure they’ve created.

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We first picked up their story a year and a half ago when Dubay and Shepherd put together a very successful Kickstarter campaign, making reclaimed wood six pack holders.

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The pair purchased a building slightly outside of the quickly growing Corktown “strip” that’s anchored by the old Michigan Central Station and Slow’s BBQ (as well as many other places, but those are the two most people know).

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They then received a $40,000 Motor City Match grant, with which and funds they had (as Motor City Match requires you match the money) they’ve been able to turn what was formerly a diner into a haven of American-made goods, whether made by them in the shop right there or from other places locally and around the country.

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“We’re passionate about what we do here – it’s been a long journey, but worth it,” said Dubay.

It’s been a journey, indeed – between contractors, dealing with city inspections, and all of the things that go along with rehabilitating a space that was in poor condition when they bought it, it’s taken a couple of years to pull this together.

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The combo store and workshop will let you peek into their workspace where the craft happens, and they’ve remodeled the exterior, added an outside sitting area and improving the curb appeal of a building that had seen much better days.

 

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What the space formerly looked like.

They have a variety of American-made products from notebooks to decorative pennants to drinking vinegars to the things they create such as signs, cutting boards, six pack holders, coasters, as well as furniture.

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Woodward Throwbacks is at 3511 Michigan Avenue in Detroit, and open Saturdays from 11-5 as well as by appointment Tuesday through Friday until they bring on some more staff.

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Also, if you’re used to seeing them at Eastern Market, they still will be there on Saturdays as well as you can check out their website.

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