“Your one-stop shop for everything men’s fashion located in Downtown Detroit, Michigan.” Hot Sam’s has been serving and creating well-dressed gentlemen in Downtown Detroit for 100 years. For nearly half of those years, it has been under the leadership of the current owners, Tony Stovall, and Cliff G. Green. I recently had a chance to stop in and spend some time with co-owner Tony Stovall to learn more.
Their website sums up their current story: “Owned by two legendary Detroiters, Tony Stovall, and Cliff G. Green. Hot Sam’s is an iconic Detroit Men’s Fashion Brand built on an essential lifestyle promise. The Hot Sam’s brand has always been synonymous with High Quality Detroit Style. The story goes that in 1974 a couple of determined and hard-working young men started at Hot Sam’s and worked their way up the ladder and in 1994 became owners of the very store they worked at, which makes this fashion and lifestyle label a true American/ Detroit Dream personified.”
The original store opened March 18, 1921. Tony and Cliff have big plans to celebrate their centennial year. A series of four events are in the works to span the year with different themes that highlight important aspects of Detroit: Black Wall Street (celebrating Black-owned business), a car show, and both a Motown and a gospel festival. The City of Detroit and Bedrock are helping to sponsor the events and they are inviting the community to come and celebrate with them just as they have for the last 100 years.
Hard work and a dedication to customer service make Hot Sam’s stand out and stand the test of time. Tony talked about his commitment to the community as “much is given, much is expected.” Through the years, he has invested in the community by sponsoring local ball teams, choirs, and community groups, participating in career days, and mentoring many young people who came through his store or who he met in his personal life.
Tony’s daughter, Lauren Stovall, has joined the team to provide her marketing knowledge to the store and the brand. Her focus is to be the “Legacy Preserver” – highlighting the history of the store while keeping a keen eye on keeping it fresh and current. She has been responsible for their online presence and for amplifying Hot Sam’s story as part of the legacy.
They have a wide range of clientele – many from the surrounding office buildings and many who have come into the store through generations of their family. Hot Sam’s is often the site of a young man’s first suit – a place to get his “grown” on. Through the years, they have worked to keep up with fashion trends and the changing face of Detroit. With the recent influx of younger residents and office workers in downtown, they have worked to change the mix of their offerings to meet the needs of their customers. Tony acknowledges that it has been a challenge to maintain business with so many people working from home but is thankful for the long-term customers and those they have developed through word of mouth and their online presence nationwide.
Tony expressed that a store does not make it in business this long without delivering something special. He and Cliff have been fortunate to be successful, but he emphasizes that it is hard work and perseverance at the core. He knows that each person at Hot Sam’s is very good at what they do and know the value of treating their customers right. They enjoy their work and, in turn, bring that feeling to the business.
Hot Sam’s Detroit is located at 127 Monroe Ave, Detroit, MI 48226.
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