We're Open Detroit: Downtown Detroit's oldest men's clothing store approaches centennial anniversary

Posted at 5:24 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 19:31:42-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — In today’s We’re Open Detroit, we are featuring a men’s store in downtown Detroit that’s close to hitting its centennial mark.

But like many shops, the shutdown was a huge blow to business. Now, Hot Sam’s is being featured in a new ad campaign.

Hot Sam’s is on Monroe Street near Randolph Street. Square has been featuring small businesses across the country with TV and radio commercials.

“We happen to be the oldest men’s clothing store in downtown Detroit,” said marketing director Lauren Stovall.

One of the stars in a national Square ad is Hot Sam’s men’s store.

“There are stories behind the store,” she said. “I am the Legacy preserver.”

What a legacy it is. Hot Sam’s opened back in 1921. By the 70’s, Lauren’s father Tony Stovall and Cliff G. Green were salesman in the store until 1994.

“They bought the store, the very store that they worked at,” Stovall said.

How can a store that sells clothes become the fabric of the Motor City?

“It’s deeper than the clothing,” she said.

In the commercial, Lauren explained, “We embodied that deep rooted history within our city. We are a store that believes in serving our customers, serving our community.

“We’ve seen it for years. We’ve seen businesses open and close all around us but yet we are still here.”

Last year, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey visited Hot Sam’s. Stovall says the store’s uniqueness caught his attention.

“I love to say we survived the Great Depression, we survived the Recession. We are survivors,“ she said.

Like other stores, they have months of catching up to do since they were shutdown from March to June.

“Not many stores still kind of carry an authentic Detroit men’s style," Stovall said. "We do.”

But luckily, customers have not stopped shopping since their doors reopened.

“I don’t know where they are wearing these clothes to in the middle of a pandemic, but they are buying them and we appreciate it and we love to see it,” she said.

Like a stitch found in these clothes, having a close knit connection to the community is what keeps them going.

Stovall gets emotional talking about her father and Cliff still working so hard to experience Hot Sam’s continued success.

“They are still here to see it,” she said.

The owners are excited to celebrate their 100th anniversary next year.

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