Detroit City Football Club is planning to open a store for merchandise and ticket sales in downtown Detroit, taking over the former space of Detroit Bikes LLC.
The soccer club signed a lease for the roughly 1,000-square-foot space at 1216 Griswold St. on Capitol Park last week and is working to set up displays for its shirts, jerseys and accessories, said Todd Kropp, co-owner and COO of DCFC, who is leading the new retail effort with Kevin Brehmer, director of operations and merchandise.
The new store is intended to broaden the team’s visibility and capitalize on its rising popularity after joining the USL Championship this year, which is one tier under Major League Soccer.
“It’s really about expanding our footprint in the city,” Kropp said. “There’s certainly more foot traffic there, more visibility for the club.”
The store is set for a soft launch next week, with regular hours after the Fourth of July, which will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.
It will be the third location for the team, which operates its fieldhouse headquarters on the city’s east side and plays its home games at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.
DCFC is taking over the lease of Detroit Bikes, which opened on the ground floor of The Albert building in 2015 and never reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic started. The company, which made bikes at a 50,000-square-foot production facility in Detroit, was acquired by Cardinal Cycling Group earlier this year.
The lease with Broder & Sachse comes with an option to renew, Kropp said. DCFC plans to sublease a portion of the space to Ann Arbor-based Underground Printing, which does screen printing for DCFC and plans to use it for marketing and client meetings.
Kropp said the space was basically turnkey with little investment needed.
Merchandise has grown to be about 20 percent of the club’s total revenue, he said. Detroit City recently expanded its deal with Rally House, allowing the company to license some apparel in exchange for a share of royalties.
The team is already top five for merchandise sales in the 28-team USL league.
“It’s something we take pride in,” Kropp said.
Kropp said ticket sales are off to a strong start, too, which is much needed after the pandemic closures and restrictions. Overall attendance this year is up, and the team had its first sellout (about 7,300 fans) of the season last week, which is the earliest there’s been a sellout, Kropp said. He hopes the new downtown store will help fill up the bleachers even more.
“Just a space where people can come by, if they don’t know about DCFC or about the club, and they’ll have the opportunity to buy tickets there